“Stay Calm” is the Best Rule for Navigating a Sobriety Checkpoint

It's amazing how otherwise law-abiding drivers tend to behave when they're pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint in the state of Virginia. Thoughts like, “Will they know about the beer I had two hours ago?” or “What if that mouthwash I used had alcohol in it?” are not uncommon. If that's how stone-sober drivers react, imagine your feelings if you've actually, and foolishly, had a few drinks before getting behind the wheel of your car.

If you keep a few facts in mind, though, your panic level should be seriously reduced. First, the police aren't allowed to pull over drivers at sobriety checkpoints because they think they're likely to be drunk; rather, they have to adhere to a strict mathematical formula (every fourth car, every eighth car, etc.). Second, at sobriety checkpoints, the police have to process stopped drivers within a set period of time. If a preliminary observation of your behavior doesn't indicate to an officer that you're seriously intoxicated, he has no choice but to let you proceed.

The one thing you absolutely shouldn't do, of course, is to back up, climb onto the shoulder, or even attempt to ram your car through the checkpoint in order to avoid being interviewed by the police. If you actively try to evade a sobriety checkpoint, you'll probably wind up being charged with reckless driving, at which point the police have free license to interrogate you in detail and administer a breathalyzer test. Any questions? Call the experienced defense attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman for a free consultation!

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