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Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Arizona?

Posted on February 1, 2021 in DUI

DUI checkpoints are an increasingly common tactic used by law enforcement throughout the United States. Generally coinciding with the busiest travel times, like state and federal holiday weekends, the goal of DUI checkpoints is to remove intoxicated and impaired drivers from the nation’s roadways. There are now nearly forty states in the United States conducting DUI checkpoints, including Arizona.

DUI checkpoints in Arizona are a coordinated effort between the county, city, and state law enforcement. Officers work together to plan and organize temporary roadblocks throughout the state on both local roads and highways. While the news may alert the public about a DUI checkpoints’ existence on a given day, the police rarely disclose the actual location.

A great deal of controversy surrounds DUI checkpoints. Many argue that these checkpoints are unconstitutional. This is because officers stop and check all vehicles on a given roadway to check for driver sobriety.

This is legally questionable since the officer does not need a reason to stop a driver, such as swerving, to perform a sobriety check. However, there is a counterargument that stopping all vehicles eliminates an officer’s ability to pick and choose drivers to stop based on race alone.  

Checkpoints remain legal in Arizona. There are parameters officers must follow.  

What To Expect at a DUI Checkpoint

Although checkpoints are legal, not all officers lawfully conduct checkpoints. Therefore, it is imperative drivers know what to expect when approaching a checkpoint. Law enforcement officers generally do the following at a checkpoint:

  • Approach the vehicle;
  • Ask to see a valid driver’s license;
  • Visually observe the driver for intoxication;
  • Engage in conversation as an additional means to detect intoxication;
  • Ask the driver to perform field sobriety testing if intoxication is suspected;
  • Confirm intoxication through field sobriety testing or chemical testing;
  • Conduct an arrest; or
  • If intoxication is not at issue, send the driver on their way.

At any time, a driver may refuse to speak to the police or perform requested sobriety tests. However, determining sobriety is subjective. Therefore, officers can view the refusal to cooperate as evidence of intoxication.  

Any refusal to take a chemical test, or breathalyzer, to confirm intoxication can result in an arrest as well. Additionally, a driver may lose their driving privileges for refusal of a breathalyzer test. 

Preserving Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint

Penalties and fines for driving under the influence in Arizona are severe, especially for repeat offenses. Do not let the consequences of a DUI destroy your personal, professional, and financial well-being.  

No one should drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, if a law enforcement officer stops you at a checkpoint, the following advice may help to preserve your legal rights: 

  • Provide your license to the officer;
  • Briefly and politely answer questions;
  • Do not volunteer any additional information; 
  • Do not volunteer to let an officer search your vehicle; and
  • Request an attorney immediately upon escalation of the situation or arrest.

If you are facing charges for a DUI, remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. At Rosenstein Law Group, our Scottsdale DUI lawyers will fight aggressively to defend you against the government’s charges. We stand out amongst Maricopa County’s DUI defense firms for our knowledge, experience, and resources.

Call Rosenstein Law Group anytime, day or night. Our team includes the only two board-certified DUI defense attorneys in Maricopa County. Call for your free consultation today.

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