Memorial Day weekend kicked off another period of strict DUI enforcement under the banner of “Checkpoint Colorado,” a 100-day period meant to combat the rise in impaired driving that often follows Memorial Day. Until Labor Day, you can expect to see more patrol cars on the road looking for the telltale signs of drunk or high drivers: swerving, erratic speed, perhaps smoke floating out the windows or fogging up the insides of cars.
Colonel Scott Hernandez, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, emphasized the need to reduce both drunk and distracted driving, the two highest consistent causes for crashes in the state. Drivers should expect zero tolerance during this period of enforcement.
What Are My Rights at a DUI Checkpoint?
Sobriety checkpoints, also called roadblocks, are a common sight on Colorado roads. If you are stopped at one, you should know your rights.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that roadblocks are constitutional, despite being a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment. Stopping drunk drivers, the court reasoned, was a powerful enough reason to supersede the individual protections against government intrusion. However, police conducting roadblocks must follow certain rules.
Police must have a non-discriminate way of stopping vehicles. They can’t just pick and choose – they need to follow a guideline established in their administrative orders. Usually they will do this by stopping every car, or every other car, or every third car, etc.
If police decide to change the selection method for cars, they can do that, but they have to document their reasoning. Legitimate reasons include traffic backups, changes in weather and things of that nature.
Police are also not allowed to put up a checkpoint without an alternate route. They cannot trap drivers into using the checkpoint. Taking an alternate route is not probable cause to pull you over.
If you have been arrested for DUI, DWI or DWAI during Checkpoint Colorado’s enforcement period, you should contact a drunk driving attorney. We have the resources you need to fight your charges.
DUI Matters – Denver Drunk Driving Lawyers