There are few things more likely to cause panic than coming across an unexpected DUI checkpoint. Whether you have been drinking or not, DUI checkpoints are scary. Many people worry that the police will assume they are drunk or find another reason to get them in trouble.

It’s normal to wonder if DUI checkpoints are legal in Ohio and about what you should do if you get stopped at one. Read on to learn about your rights at a DUI checkpoint in Ohio.

In general, the police need reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop. They must have specific and articulable facts that justify stopping your car. This prevents the police from arbitrarily stopping and detaining people for no reason.

When police in Ohio use DUI checkpoints, they don’t have reasonable suspicion that every driver is drunk. In fact, they have no reason to stop every car. So what makes it legal?

Supreme Court Case: Michigan v. Sitz

In 1990, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Michigan v. Sitz, 490 U.S. 444 (1990). In this case, the court considered whether DUI checkpoints violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The Court concluded that it did not.

Specifically, the Court decided that a state’s interest in preventing drunk driving outweighed the intrusion on individual drivers at a DUI checkpoint. Especially since DUI checkpoints are usually brief stops. As a result, states like Ohio are allowed to continue to use DUI checkpoints to catch drunk drivers.

What To Do At A DUI Checkpoint

If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you should cooperate with the police. You’ll need to roll down your window and answer a few questions from the police officer. 

The questions will probably include:

  • Have you been drinking? If so, how many drinks have you had?
  • How long has it been since your last drink?
  • Have you been using drugs? If so, what drugs?
  • Provide your license and registration

If the police suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will ask you to pull out of the line and to the side of the road. If they don’t, you will be free to continue driving. If you are pulled over, then the police will further investigate the DUI or arrest you.

Breath And Blood Tests

This investigation may include asking you to submit to a breath or blood test. Under Ohio’s implied consent law, you must submit to a chemical test after being lawfully arrested or else you can be charged with a misdemeanor. If you refuse, you may still be arrested and the police can seek a warrant from the court to draw your blood without your permission. It’s best to consent to the test after you have been arrested.

Field Sobriety Tests

The police may also ask you to perform field sobriety tests at a DUI checkpoint. Unlike the breath or blood tests, you don’t need to do this. In fact, it is usually not in your best interest to do field sobriety tests. That’s because the police can use these tests to try to create probable cause to arrest you. If you don’t cooperate, they will have less evidence and you will have a better defense later in court.

Contact A Dayton DUI Lawyer for Help With DUI Charges

If you are ever worried about what to do at a DUI checkpoint, you have the right to call a DUI lawyer. You don’t need to wait to be arrested before seeking advice from a criminal defense attorney

They can advise you of your rights and help you make the best decisions to avoid getting arrested or set yourself up for a strong defense.

For more information, contact the DUI attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC give us a call today at (937) 531-0435 or visit us at our Dayton law office.

Suhre & Associates, LLC – Dayton
130 West Second Street #17-129
Dayton, OH 45402
United States