Yesterday was New Year’s Eve. Typically, celebrations to ring in the New Year include alcohol, food, and friends. But, sometimes the night’s revelry includes being arrested for DUI / DWAI in Denver, Jefferson, and Adams County. This is because the police in Littleton, Aurora, Centennial, and across the Denver metro area are on high alert, and have set up DUI checkpoints throughout the city. If you were caught by a DUI checkpoint, there is something you need to know: If the police didn’t abide by a few key rules, any arrests made at the checkpoint are not legal, and any charges filed could be thrown out of court and dismissed.
DUI / DWAI Checkpoints are Common in the Denver Area During Holidays
According to reports, police officers in the Denver metro area made 500 hundred arrests for Driving Under the Influence and Driving While Ability Impaired during last year’s New Year’s Eve “The Heat is On” campaign. That’s a lot of people who faced DUI charges in Arapahoe, El Paso, and Douglas County. The police are looking for any signs you are driving after drinking, and will often go too far to find evidence. During a DUI sobriety roadblock, the police require drivers to stop and speak with a police officer. This officer is looking closely for any signs you have been drinking. These signs include:
- Slow motor skills
- Slurred speech
- Red, blurry eyes
- The smell of alcohol
If the police officer detects any of these signs of intoxication, he will ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and perform roadside (field sobriety) tests. It is never in your best interest to participate with these tests and maneuvers. Instead, it is wise to politely decline. If the police officer believes she has enough evidence to make an arrest for DUI, you will be arrested and escorted to a police station where mandatory blood alcohol tests will be performed.
Was Your DUI Arrest Legal?
The Supreme Court has ruled that the police are allowed to use DUI checkpoints, even though they infringe on personal freedom. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the “purpose of the checkpoint is to maximize the deterrent effect and increase the perception of ‘risk of apprehension’ to motorists who would operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs.” The police are required to follow specific guidelines and rules, however. If they fail to follow these guidelines, your DUI arrest could be illegal. Let’s take a look at the guidelines DUI checkpoints must follow. The police must:
- Have a method for stopping cars which is nondiscriminatory and documented. In other words, they must decide to stop every single car, or every third car. They cannot choose randomly, and must treat all cars the same. And, if the method for stopping cars changes, the changes must be documented, and the reason for switching must be noted.
- Only operate checkpoints for a certain amount of time at a specific location (so as to not hassle law-abiding citizens in the area).
Arrested for DUI in Denver? Contact a Determined DUI Lawyer
There are a variety of ways the police make illegal arrests for DUI and DWAI. If you were arrested last night after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint, don’t give up hope and plead guilty. Consult a knowledgeable, determined DUI defense attorney who will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case. A DUI conviction has a negative impact on people’s lives. Don’t give in; contact a DUI attorney at the O’Malley Law Office. We fight to win!