Setting up DUI checkpoints is a valid and productive method police officers use to promote road safety. While the use of DUI checkpoints may be somewhat controversial, with some drivers viewing it as a form of entrapment, the practice is entirely lawful in New Jersey.
If you find yourself at a DUI checkpoint, though, it is important to exercise your rights appropriately so you can avoid a wrongful arrest.
Provide the necessary documents
When asked, provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance promptly. Having these documents ready beforehand can expedite the process and help create a positive interaction with law enforcement.
Answer questions clearly and concisely
Law enforcement officers may ask you questions about your destination or if you have consumed any alcohol. Answer truthfully, but keep your responses clear and concise. Rambling or providing unnecessary details may raise suspicions.
Do not volunteer information
While you should answer questions truthfully, avoid volunteering information that was not explicitly requested. Unnecessary details can complicate the interaction and may lead to further scrutiny.
Know your right to refuse field sobriety tests
If an officer asks you to step out of your vehicle for field sobriety tests, you have the right to politely refuse. However, be aware that refusing might lead to further investigation. Remaining polite and respectful is key to a smooth encounter.
Cooperate with breath tests
If an officer requests a breath test, it is typically in your best interest to cooperate. Refusing a breath test may result in legal consequences, such as license suspension. Remember, the purpose of these tests is to ensure road safety.
Statistics show that there were 230 DUI arrests for every 100,000 drivers in New Jersey in 2020. The questionable use of DUI checkpoints by law enforcement contributes to this figure, but you can protect yourself from a wrongful arrest by keeping your rights and options in mind if you encounter one of these checkpoints.