Thinking of visiting friends and family this Memorial Day weekend? You
are certainly not the only one who will be out on the highway for a bit
and law enforcement agencies across Missouri know this. In particular,
they know that people like to celebrate holidays with a few beers and
cocktails and that sometimes, they make the mistake of getting behind
the wheel while intoxicated. Don’t be surprised if you run into
a police checkpoint this weekend that is set up to catch people who are
driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI). If you know your rights ahead of time, you should be fine.
First of all, you should not turn around and intentionally try to avoid
the DWI checkpoint. The police are out there in force and keep someone
posted to spot drivers making last-second maneuvers to dodge the checkpoint.
This is usually indicative of someone who knows they are drunk behind
the wheel and they will send out a patrol car to pull you over. You would
then be in the same situation you would have been in before, only now
the police have reasons to suspect your intoxication.
When you do enter the checkpoint, remain courteous and respectful of the
officers. They do not want to spend their Memorial Day weekend arresting
people for drunk driving so don’t take it personally. In fact, it
is the opposite of personally since they are stopping
everyone who is on that road at that time. Be cooperative, hand them your license
when they ask for it, but know your rights when it comes to field sobriety tests.
You Can Refuse a Field Sobriety Test
You have the right to refuse to take any test the police can conduct curbside,
or a field sobriety test. This includes standing on one leg for a while,
attempting to walk a straight line while balancing precariously, and staring
into a bright light for an impromptu pupil examination. Refusing to take
a field sobriety test does not bring any immediate consequences and usually
cannot be used as circumstantial evidence against you later, should the
matter be taken to court.
Refusing a chemical test later, however, is a different matter altogether.
If you are stopped a Memorial Day DUI checkpoint this weekend and end
up back at the station for additional testing, you should not refuse any
breath, blood, or urine tests that are conducted there. These are known
as chemical tests, and you must take them as part of Colorado’s
implied consent laws, or else you can face instant, automatic license
suspension as a penalty.
If you find yourself in this situation, you can call
417.658.4172 to reach the Worsham Law Firm. Our Springfield DWI attorneys can explain
your rights and what you should do next in an
initial consultation over the phone.