What to Do If You Encounter a DWI Checkpoint in Missouri
A Complete Overview to DWI Checkpoints in Missouri
DWI checkpoints in Missouri can easily turn a night out into a lifetime of legal challenges. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been pulled over at a Missouri sobriety checkpoint.
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Sobriety Checkpoints in Missouri
Law enforcement introduced DWI checkpoints in Missouri to keep the roadways safe. This enables police officers to apprehend violators and drunk drivers before they hurt somebody. Plus, it acts as an excellent deterrent.
Imagine driving home tired from a long day at work or after a few drinks with friends. Suddenly, you see a checkpoint ahead. You immediately feel nervous and wonder about your constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. When a sobriety checkpoint is handled in a prescribed manner, they do not violate your constitutional rights.
Missouri allows sobriety checkpoints to deter drunk drivers from operating vehicles because drunk driving has led to many accidents and deaths. An arrest made at DWI checkpoints would be valid in court if the law enforcement officer followed the correct procedures when setting it up. This includes creating a comprehensive plan and inspecting it by a senior officer.
A DWI charge will be made if your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit. Schedule a free consultation from the best DWI lawyer in Rogersville, MO, if you get a DWI charge. An experienced attorney will examine your case.
Are DWI Checkpoints Legal in Missouri
The DWI checkpoints are legal in Missouri. However, you will not come across the checkpoints every evening as you go home. The inspection process is expensive for law enforcement agencies to set up and run. Since the state legislature removed their funding, sobriety checkpoints are only set up once in a while.
If you are charged as a drunk driver at a DWI checkpoint, you should know that you can avoid conviction. Hire a DWI lawyer in Nixa, MO, to examine your case, including the evidence and charges made. A knowledgeable DWI attorney will protect your rights and help you avoid conviction because of the excellent attorney-client relationship.
How to Check for DUI Checkpoints in Missouri
It is relatively easy to check for DUI checkpoints in Missouri since they are set up in deterrence. In Missouri, sobriety checkpoint information is highly publicized in the target locations using High Visibility Enforcement tactics to enhance law obedience.
Not all agencies agree to publicize as they feel it will move away impaired drivers. The supreme court declared checkpoints legal in 1990. Announcing inspection points in public limits the element of surprise and intrusion of privacy hence avoiding the fourth amendment (unlawful search).
The internet is an excellent platform for checking for frontier points. When traveling, google the areas along the way to your destination. Type sobriety checkpoints and click news results. You can also visit the roadblock.org website to get an update.
Sometimes your local news station will advertise a sobriety checkpoint in the morning news. Police are obligated to make an inspection point public. They use the newspaper in court to show that they made a checkpoint public. In addition, the WAZE app is most famous for identifying roadblocks.
Do You Have to Show License at DUI Checkpoint
When stopped by police, it is your obligation to show your license and registration at a sobriety checkpoint. It is crucial to cooperate with the police and at the same time know your rights. This will help ease the process and avoid confrontations with the police.
Missouri DUI Checkpoint Rights
When considering your Missouri sobriety checkpoint rights, you should realize that you aren’t obligated to say anything that could implicate yourself. When a police offer instructs you to stop at a DUI checkpoint, you should follow the instructions. Show your driver’s license and registration and any other documents requested by the officer.
However, you shouldn’t provide any information about your drinking. An arrest can be made based solely on your confirmation of drinking. Try to give as little information as possible.
If the police officer instructs you to pull over further, they want to conduct a roadside test to obtain probable cause that you had been drinking. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines three standardized field sobriety tests, which are the walk-and-turn (WAT), the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, and the one-leg-stand test.
Other field sobriety tests, such as the counting test or finger-to-nose test, are not validated by NHTSA, but a police officer may conduct them. In addition, police officers can require drivers to submit a breath, blood, or urine sample. The procedure is known as a DWI chemical test.
You are not obligated to comply with field sobriety tests, and you can refuse politely to take a chemical test. Remember, though, that under the implied consent law, refusal of a lawful breath test request results in a driver’s license suspension.
Hiring an excellent DWI lawyer in Springfield, MO, can get you out of the mess. In some cases, your lawyer can prove that the officer had no reason to suspect you are driving impaired.
Lastly, unless an officer has probable cause to believe that there is evidence of a crime in your vehicle, you should never allow an officer to search your car at a DUI checkpoint.
Missouri DUI Checkpoint Laws
Law enforcement officers must carefully plan before setting up sobriety checkpoints to make sure they’re following Missouri DUI checkpoint laws. The time and location of checkpoints should be made public. This is to deter drivers from operating their vehicles while intoxicated since they are aware of the sobriety checkpoints.
The police must follow protocol concerning which driver is being stopped. The protocol may include:
- Stopping each vehicle.
- Stopping vehicles based on a pattern like every fourth driver.
- Stopping vehicles with drivers who show signs of being impaired.
In most cases, law enforcement officers stop a driver who is assumed to be intoxicated based on prejudicial assumptions.
When setting up a checkpoint, police must consider safety. Officers should ensure that warning signs are appropriately placed and visible. Proper lighting is essential and must use well-marked law enforcement vehicles. If the enforcement team does not follow protocol, it may be considered an unconstitutional checkpoint. If you are arrested, get a criminal defense attorney to help you. Anyone charged with driving under the influence can use this argument in their defense.
Choosing a DUI Attorney
Before your case goes to the courts, you should hire a reputable DUI attorney for professional advice and representation. Chances are, you will get upset when a law enforcement officer waves you down at a DWI checkpoint if you are driving. You will feel like the checkpoints violate your constitutional rights. Remain calm; law enforcement agencies are fully aware that drivers do not like random searches.
All drunk driving cases are unique and must be analyzed based on their own merits. The choice of an attorney is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. Call Ozarks DWI Law Clinic for a free consultation.