Being pulled over at a DUI checkpoint is an experience no one wants to go through. You may be nervous and unsure of what to do or say. The officer may ask you questions and request that you perform field sobriety tests. It’s important to know your rights so that you can make the best choices for your case.
What is reasonable suspicion?
Reasonable suspicion is typically defined as an objective basis for suspecting that the person stopped has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. Simply put, the officer must have more than just a hunch that criminal activity is afoot. As such, reasonable suspicion is based on specific facts. This means that the officer must be able to point to specific observations that led him or her to believe that criminal activity was occurring.
Common examples of reasonable suspicion
One of the most common examples of reasonable suspicion that many criminal defense attorneys deal with is when officers pull someone over for drunk driving. Officers often have to make quick decisions based on their observations, and in the case of DUI stops, officers are looking for specific clues that a driver may be impaired. This can include things like slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and an unsteady gait. Other criminal activity that may give rise to reasonable suspicion includes drug possession, loitering and public intoxication.
If you’re stopped at a DUI checkpoint and you feel like you are being unfairly targeted, it’s important to cooperate with the officer but also to know your rights. You should never consent to a search of your vehicle or person without a warrant. If you’re arrested, you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Exercising these rights is important to protecting yourself and ensuring that you have the best possible defense against any criminal charges.