A driver having to go through a DUI and DWI checkpoint is an unpleasant ordeal for anyone to have to experience, and walks the borderline of violating a person’s rights at this roadblock stop by police. Fortunately, many citizens decide to use and when necessary, fight for their rights by legally contesting their detainment at a police “safety” checkpoint.
A man from Connecticut named Michael Picard, is one such individual who is not a fan of this police intrusion on random drivers without cause. In several number of incidents, other news outlets have covered Michael Picard’s challenges in utilizing his rights with law enforcement. On one such occasion, he was even detained after recording a video of officers trying to arrest him with unjustified charges.
In his latest police run-in Picard filmed, the footage portrays him defending his rights once again. This particular video shows his documentation when driving through a police DUI checkpoint location, just a short time after he was earlier participating in protesting this specific roadblock.
“We were protesting the checkpoint with signs reading, ‘cops ahead.’” he told another news outlet explaining what had taken place before proceeding through the checkpoint location. Next, both Picard and his acquaintances began driving through this same safety checkpoint they were earlier trying to protest, just trying to go back to their homes.
“We were heading home and had to go through the checkpoint in order to get onto the highway,” he describes of the events.
It is at this time where the video recording of his encounter starts.
When their vehicle eventually reaches the checkpoint location, the police officer then requests Picard to hand him his driver’s license, and he simply asks the officer as to, “Why?”
“This is a DUI checkpoint,” the police officer replies. This is the point when the video gets both interesting and entertaining.
The officer soon notices the recording camera, in addition to observing how Picard began immediately questioning the requests of the officer. Then just as quickly as Picard’s car drove up to the checkpoint, the officer, seemingly not wanting to take the bait on camera as to explaining the reason for the baseless stop, tells them to go through.
So almost instantly, these men were waived through a DUI checkpoint with no arrest, search, seizure, interrogation, or otherwise any other problems at all. This is an ideal example of how an average citizen’s rights can work when people know how to use them effectively. After all, the best way how to beat or get out of a DUI checkpoint charge is by never getting one with an arrest in first place.
These roadblock or roadside “safety” checkpoints as they are now commonly renamed, are still primarily the same DUI and DWI checkpoint stops most people are already familiar with or heard about. These roadblocks main purpose is to help make it easy for police officers to be able to view drivers, and see inside the vehicles by briefly stopping them with basic license and registration questions.
Much of the time these stops move along pretty timely, however this is obviously not in all circumstances. This is because the brief detainment period provides the police an opportunity to examine insurance info, plates, a driver’s license, etc. Most of all it lets police be able to smell a driver’s breath for possible detection of alcohol or Marijuana, as well as chance to look inside the car momentarily for any other illegal substances or contraband. If anything at all from the license and registration info, to the odor on a driver’s breath alerts the officer, that driver is sure to be detained and subjected to further questions and DUI tests.
It is important for every driver to be aware of their constitutional rights when encountering a DUI roadblock or vehicle safety checkpoint situation. Even though a police officer is legally allowed to detain a car very briefly, the officer is not permitted to search a car or a person without a valid probable cause that a crime has been committed, or a driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or even prescription medication. Since a driver does have these rights at a police checkpoint stop, a person does not have to answer questions or talk about anything else about where they are coming from, where they are going, etc. that the officers most routinely will ask.
Since so many people do have problems at these DUI or safety checkpoints, many drivers have also found themselves in trouble when refusing to comply at these police roadblocks. When a driver does find trouble at a checkpoint, this is where things can get complicated quickly, since each person’s encounter or arrest situation can have many different varieties of circumstances. This is why any individual who needs assistance about their own specific situation, should obtain expert local legal help immediately to find out if their rights were violated at the DUI checkpoint and have the best chances of beating a first offense DUI case in court.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.