Police roadblocks and sobriety checkpoints are legal in Massachusetts, meaning that you may find yourself stopped one night on the way home for no other reason than you happened to drive down the road that had a stop on it. These locations are random, but there are many different resources online and on local radio that do put up warnings as soon as they are alerted to the location. Either way, these roadblocks are extremely invasive and can cause major problems if you accidentally drive into one after having a few drinks.
Although these sobriety checkpoints are extremely invasive and seemingly violate a driver’s constitutional rights, in a case called “Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444” in 1990 ruled 6-3 that these roadblocks are consistent with the Fourth Amendment. This decision has been hotly contested ever since, but unfortunately, Massachusetts continues to utilize these methods to maximize the number of OUI’s that they are able to issue on a given night.
If you have been charged with an OUI after being stopped at a sobriety checkpoint, you need to partner with an experienced OUI attorney in Massachusetts as soon as possible. While you are focusing on getting your life back on track after your arrest, we will start working through every detail of the checkpoint, your stop, your arrest, and all other information. With our experience defending against OUI charges in Massachusetts, we will search for every possibility that the stop was unwarranted. Massachusetts police must adhere to specific requirements in order to put a sobriety checkpoint in place, and we will find as many issues with their justification as possible to show that the initial stop should have never happened.
What Is a Sobriety Checkpoint?
A sobriety checkpoint is a random police roadblock where officers stop drivers and administer basic tests to determine whether or not they have been drinking or consuming other mind-altering substances. You will be pulled to the side of the road without having violated any traffic laws or regulations, and the police will ask if you have had anything to drink this evening. You have a constitutional right to remain silent when asked questions about whether or not you have been drinking, but it is important that you are polite and provide the necessary identification to avoid any additional issues.
If an officer suspects that a person who has been stopped in a checkpoint is intoxicated, or if they smell alcohol or other drugs, they will be asked to step out of the car and perform another battery of field sobriety tests and blood alcohol tests. Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer will result in an automatic license suspension from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, although we may be able to appeal this automatic suspension if we act quickly.
Am I Required To Stop At a Sobriety Checkpoint?
If you are directed to stop operating your vehicle by a police officer, then you are required to obey their directions. In addition, you are required to provide the necessary identification. However, you are not required to answer the question of whether or not you have been drinking, comment on your sobriety, or answer any other question. If you choose to not cooperate with all of the questions that you are asked, it is important that you remain polite and calm, because if you are combative and aggressive you may only escalate the situation.
What To Do After Being Arrested At a DUI/OUI Checkpoint
If you have been arrested for OUI after being stopped at a checkpoint, contact us as soon as possible to begin working on your case. While these checkpoints were unfortunately deemed constitutional, there are many specific requirements that police departments must follow in order to put a roadblock into practice. Our first step will be to go through each of these requirements and ensure that this was actually the case. During an arrest, the most important thing to do is to remain calm and cooperative in order to avoid additional charges like resisting arrest. Once the arrest has begun, the next thing you need to start thinking about is your legal defense, not trying to talk your way out of the situation.
After we have examined the roadblock itself and identified any problems with the execution of the checkpoint itself, we will then begin building a defense around all of the other details regarding your arrest. Our experience as OUI attorneys in Massachusetts will be a major asset for you during this process.
Contact Us Today
Schedule your initial consultation as soon as possible so that we can start building your defense immediately. During your consultation, we will be able to evaluate your situation, discuss the specifics of your sobriety checkpoint stop and your arrest, and give you a better understanding of how we can work together. While being arrested for an OUI is upsetting regardless, being arrested for OUI after being stopped at a checkpoint can be extremely frustrating. However, keep in mind that there are a lot of different options that we may be able to choose for how we will defend your case given the complexity of the situation that these roadblocks create.