What You Should Know About DUI Checkpoints in Texas

What You Should Know About DUI Checkpoints in Texas

March 25, 2021

Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the most dangerous decisions a person can make behind the wheel. Every year, thousands of people are killed and many more injured because negligent drivers take to the roads after consuming alcohol. That being said, people charged with DUIs still have the right to a defense in court, and may have effective defense strategies available to them.

State and local law enforcement agencies are constantly employing new methods of enforcement to catch impaired drivers before they cost lives. Among these enforcement methods are DUI checkpoints.

Here’s a quick overview from a DUI attorney in Lubbock, TX of what you should know about DUI checkpoints.

An overview

DUI checkpoints are types of blockages established by law enforcement officers where they pull over and interview drivers at random. This allows them to search for anyone who could be driving under the influence of alcohol. Officers at these checkpoints might keep their vehicles parked and flash their lights, or they could have flares or other markers set up in the road to direct vehicles to slow down and stop.

The officers will look for signs of intoxication, but will not use a breathalyzer unless they have reasonable evidence that the person they’re inspecting is under the influence. DUI checkpoints are not always set up in the same location or at the same time, but they are more likely to be set up at times when drunk drivers are frequently out on the roads, such as weekends or over big drinking holidays.

There may be some circumstances in which you are not allowed to refuse inspections if pulled over. In Texas, there are some no refusal checkpoints where officers require you to take drug or alcohol tests upon being pulled over. It’s important to understand local laws in these situations, as well as the rights you have.

Legality

Here’s something important to note: the legality of DUI checkpoints in Texas is dubious. While there is not a specific ban on law enforcement agencies using these checkpoints, state courts have interpreted the use of DUI checkpoints as violations of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. This is because drivers pulled over at these locations are only profiled on location, rather than based on any observable behavior.

This means if you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint rather than being pulled over for behavior such as excessive speed, swerving in and out of lanes or other erratic driving behavior, you may have a viable legal argument that the stop was illegal, and thus any evidence collected in the course of that stop would be considered inadmissible in court.

So, while DUI checkpoints may or may not happen as described above in Texas, it’s important in all circumstances to be aware of your rights when stopped, to be respectful to officers and to decline searches or sobriety tests, which is your right to do without penalty in Texas.

For more information about checkpoints or to speak with a DUI lawyer in Lubbock, TX about the particulars of your case, contact The Law Office of Rob Biggers today.

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