Rapid City, SD- Law enforcement agencies across South Dakota have geared up for their annual “Drive Sober Get Pulled Over” campaign. This annual DUI enforcement blitz is aimed at taking intoxicated drivers off the road at a time when drunken driving deaths spike. With this increased enforcement, our team of DUI lawyers in South Dakota wanted to make certain you know your rights if run in to a sobriety checkpoint or are pulled over.
Sobriety checkpoints are perfectly legal in South Dakota, so from now until after Labor Day motorists in Rapid City may find themselves stopped at one. The U.S. Supreme Court established long ago that sobriety checkpoints are not an infringement of your rights. And because the CDC estimates that sobriety checkpoints prevents 1 out of 100 drunk driving deaths
If you come across a sobriety checkpoint you must stop, you can’t just drive through. There is no law against making a U-turn or turn down another road to avoid police contact, but such actions will most likely elicit further scrutiny and give an officer the impression that you are doing something wrong. Your best bet when you run across a sobriety checkpoint is to cooperate with officers and answer their questions. Many law enforcement agencies have patrol officers near road blocks for the sole purpose of chasing down the dodgers.
You can still get pulled over. Law enforcement agencies, sometimes, use patrol officers to chase down and stop drivers who evaded a checkpoint. Their assumption is that you’re doing something illegal by trying to evade a checkpoint.
If go through a checkpoint, be ready to produce your driver’s license and answer a battery of questions like: “Where have you been tonight?” “Have you had anything to drink?” and “Where are you going?” The point of these questions is to determine if you are drunk. This can be a bad spot to be in, because if you answer “Yes,” you will then be asked to participate in field sobriety tests and take a breathalyzer test. Depending on the outcome of those tests, you could be spending the night in jail.
The worst thing you can do at a sobriety checkpoint is to lie to an officer. It’s better to say nothing than to lie. If you lie right off the bat, it will undermine your credibility and your DUI defense. Just remember, you have the right to remain silent and in many cases that is exactly what you should do.
Another thing you need to do is be polite with an officer. In reality, no one likes dealing with police especially if they think they are going to get a ticket or be arrested. Being rude or being a jerk won’t help your case one bit and could result in additional charges.
If an officer insists you take participate in field sobriety tests, you should know that you can refuse the tests, but you can still be arrested and charged with a DUI. Refusing these tests is a calculated risk and could actually lead to additional charges.
If you have been charged for a DUI in Rapid City, USAttorneys urges you to contact a DUI lawyer near you to evaluate your case. We recommend you contact defense lawyer Mathew Kinney to work on your defense. He can help you decide how to approach your case and give you the chance to avoid being convicted.