DWI Checkpoints


DWI checkpoints are used throughout the year. However they are implemented much more frequently during the holiday season and other major holidays. Like any other police encounter the best way to handle the checkpoint is to have all of your information readily available including your license, registration, and proof of insurance. Being courteous and polite with the officer will always help no matter what the circumstances.

However being courteous and polite does not mean volunteering information or answering incriminating statements. At a roadblock you can expect such questions as where you coming from, where are you going, have you had anything to drink tonight.

Being able to answer these simple questions responsively and providing the officer your driving information quickly will typically lead to a shorter encounter with the officer. The shorter your interaction is with the officer the better.

The officer will have but a couple of minutes to briefly ask a few non-accusatory questions while making observations about your physical appearance and whether there is an odor of an alcoholic beverage.
If there are no open containers, the officer does not smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage, you are able to answer basic questions, and provide your license, you should be on your way. If an officer determines that you may be under the influence of alcohol he/she may ask you to pull over for further testing.

If you were charged with an alcohol-related driving offense as the result of a DWI checkpoint stop, then it is important to have an attorney who is familiar with the requirements for a DWI checkpoint to be valid under the law.
There are requirements which must be implemented by the law enforcement agency and the burden is on the District Attorney to show that these procedures were complied with. The Court of Appeals in the case of People v. Scott, 63 N.Y.2d 518, 483 N.Y.S.2d 649, 473 N.E.2d 1 (1984) held that to be constitutional, a sobriety checkpoint (1) may not intrude to an impermissible degree upon the privacy of motorists approaching the checkpoint, (2) must be maintained in accordance with a uniform procedure which affords little discretion to operating personnel and (3) must utilize adequate precautions as to safety, lighting and fair warning of the existence of the checkpoint.

If the DWI checkpoint which resulted in your arrest did not comply with these requirements, or the arresting officer had unfettered discretion contrary to the uniform procedure, or you were unduly detained for an extended period of time prior to the officer establishing a reasonable suspicion that you were intoxicated, you may have a strong defense against your charges.

If you’ve been arrested for an alcohol-related driving offense contact Attorney Jason C. Henskee at 716-464-3705 for a free consultation.

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