Photo Of Kyle B. Sawyer
Photo Of Kyle B. Sawyer

Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

What can drivers do when they encounter sobriety checkpoints?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2024 | DUI / DWAI |

Colorado police officers can stop individuals in traffic if they believe those drivers are under the influence. Signs of intoxication, such as unreasonable speeds or frequent swerving, may justify a traffic stop and even an arrest. Other times, police officers test those involved in car crashes and confirm their suspicions that someone was under the influence at the time of a wreck.

The state also sometimes engages in large-scale enforcement efforts instead of targeted enforcement. Sobriety checkpoints have long been a tool used by law enforcement when there is reason to worry about large numbers of drunk drivers.

Weekends, holidays and special events like athletic competitions or concerts may lead to local authorities conducting sobriety checkpoints. How can a Colorado driver respond when they notice a checkpoint ahead?

Drivers can change their course

Some people believe that it is illegal to drive away from me sobriety checkpoint. However, it is only illegal to avoid a checkpoint if someone must conduct inappropriate traffic maneuvers to do so. If someone can turn on another street or into a parking lot, doing so does not automatically lead to legal allegations against them. Drivers who pay close attention to their surroundings could potentially reroute as they approach a sobriety checkpoint and avoid the inconvenience it presents entirely.

Drivers can stand up for their rights

Perhaps traffic is too heavy or the checkpoint is too near for someone to lawfully avoid passing through it. At that point, a motorist may have no choice but to interact with police officers. Checkpoints are legal in Colorado, but they are subject to numerous restrictions. For example, officers should seek to minimize the inconvenience for the average person by keeping the interactions with each driver minimal. They should screen for obvious signs of impairment and ask only those who seem like they may be under the influence to pull aside for additional screening. Drivers do not have to necessarily answer numerous invasive questions or even agree to perform field sobriety tests just because they encountered a sobriety checkpoint.

Drivers can fight the charges

Sometimes, an interaction at a sobriety checkpoint leads to a drunk driving arrest and charges brought against a motorist. Factors ranging from inaccurate presumptions by law enforcement professionals to improperly calibrated testing devices might provide the grounds for a viable criminal defense strategy.

Those accused of drunk driving after encountering a sobriety checkpoint may be able to avoid a criminal conviction. Learning more about the rules that apply during checkpoint encounters may benefit drivers if they ever end up stopped as part of a mass enforcement effort.