Tis’ the season for multiple sobriety checkpoints throughout Illinois. The consumption of alcohol and drugs tends to increase during the holiday season. The objective of the DUI checkpoints is to deter drunk driving in the interest of public safety. So what exactly happens at a DUI checkpoint, and what should a person do if they get charged with drunk driving at a checkpoint?
Field Sobriety Tests at a DUI Checkpoint
If you drive through a checkpoint, you may be signaled to stop by law enforcement. An officer will ask you to lower your window and turn off the car. They will want to see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. During this exchange, the officer will be looking for signs of intoxication, such as alcohol odor, slurred speech, and difficulty focusing. They want to make sure the driver can safely operate a motor vehicle.
When an officer suspects you are driving under the influence, you may be asked to step out of the car and conduct a field sobriety test using these top three methods:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus — You will be asked to follow an object from side to side with your eyes. Jerky eye movements or an inability to focus could be a sign of driving under the influence.
- Walk-and-Turn — You will have to place your heel to toe and take nine steps forward, turning on one foot, and repeating the steps. This balance test also shows whether or not you can follow directions.
- Stand on One Leg — You may be asked to stand on one foot about six inches off the ground and count aloud. Using your arms for balance, swaying, or putting your foot down will lead to a failed test.
It is important to know that you do have the option to refuse DUI testing, including any and all breath tests. Choosing to refuse testing, however, almost always leads to a DUI arrest but puts you in a position to contest the legality of arrest in court.
Are Checkpoints Legal?
Sobriety checkpoints are legal in Illinois, allowing law enforcement to randomly stop drivers and look for signs of intoxication. They are set up at various intersections in areas known for drunk driving, usually at night, on weekends, and on holidays. Checkpoints must be publicized in advance, and officers must be unbiased when they pull over the vehicles. For example, they may decide to pull over only blue vehicles or every fifth car. The field sobriety test may also include a roadside breathalyzer test.
Contact a Will County DUI Lawyer
If you are facing DUI charges after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. You need to be proactive and contact an experienced Will County DUI attorney to review your case. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.