The streets are full of drivers during the holidays, doing last-minute shopping runs, going to and from parties, and traveling. Police are also out in force, ready to pull over anyone they suspect of driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Drunk driving accidents cause significant damage and injury, so police are often very aggressive in their response. They typically set up checkpoints on major roadways on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and it helps to know what to do if you are stopped under these circumstances.
DUI Checkpoints in Virginia
Police aren’t allowed to stop every vehicle that passes through a checkpoint. Usually, they follow a pattern in which they may stop every third or fifth car. They must post checkpoint locations ahead of time. DUI checkpoints in Virginia Beach in the past have appeared at Oceana Blvd., N. Great Neck Rd., and Ocean Breeze Pkwy.
Criminal penalties for DUI in Virginia can be significant. A first offense is a class 1 misdemeanor with a minimum $250 fine and a 7-day license suspension. The penalties increase for second and third offenses.
Can I Drive away from a DUI Checkpoint?
There’s nothing wrong with changing course if you see a checkpoint ahead, but be careful not to make an illegal U-turn or exceed the speed limit in an attempt to avoid the stop. Police will have cause to pull you over in cases like these.
What Happens If I’m Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint?
Above all, don’t panic. Remain calm and follow instructions. Going through a checkpoint doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be arrested or go to jail. Keep the following in mind if you go through a checkpoint:
- Stops must be brief, and the officer isn’t allowed to ask certain questions, such as where you’re going or where you’re driving from.
- You should be respectful and provide your license and registration. Follow police instructions—if you’re ordered to leave your vehicle or hold your hands up, do so.
- You don’t have to answer any questions that may incriminate you, and you’re not required to take a preliminary breathalyzer or sobriety test. Police use these tests to establish probable cause. After you’re arrested, however, you may be required to take an evidentiary breath or blood test, and the results or a refusal could be used against you in court.
If you are arrested, know your rights, and don’t say anything you don’t have to. You have the right to remain silent. If you refuse to answer questions or to take a breathalyzer or sobriety test, and the officer believes you’ve been driving under the influence, you may be arrested, and your license may be suspended. However, it is possible that this may occur if you do agree to the tests. Contact Invictus Law as soon as possible to ensure you have top-quality legal representation.
How Invictus Law Could Help
If you’re facing legal consequences related to a holiday DUI checkpoint, you need skilled representation right away. Police often don’t have your legal best interests at heart, and they may actively try to get you to say something that will cause you trouble later.
The motor vehicle defense lawyers of Invictus Law will make sure your rights are protected and that you have the aggressive representation you deserve. Our award-winning firm takes a strategic and compassionate approach to every case. There’s no need to spend the holidays dealing with legal problems like this by yourself. Call us at 757-367-8898 or fill out our contact form as soon as possible to discuss your case.