DWI traffic stops are sneaky things; sometimes they go by other names like “sobriety checkpoints” or “DUI traffic checkpoint,” and the legality of these traffic stops varies depending on the state you’re in. Regardless of where you’re driving, if you come upon one of these traffic stops, here are three helpful hints to get you through:
- Most people aren’t mentally prepared for DWI traffic stops, and they start to freak out a little bit — which usually ends badly for them. It’s always a good idea to find out if these checkpoints are legal in the states where you usually drive, and many police stations will announce online or in a town bulletin when and when they’re setting up a checkpoint. Even if you’re driving somewhere and you don’t think the state permits these traffic stops, the best thing to do is to cooperate with the officers and seek legal advice after you get through.
- The point of DWI traffic stops is simple: to find the people who are driving under the influence of drugs or driving while intoxicated, and to take them off the road. Data shows that these checkpoints lower the number of drunk driving car crashes by about 9%, so they definitely are effective. The legality of these stops is questionable, however, because a police officer typically has to have a reason to pull over a driver; with these traffic stops, drivers are pulled over and required to talk with police officers without giving the officers a reason to suspect that he/she is breaking the law.
- And finally, remember that you can be arrested for drunk driving at one of these stops just as you would be if you were pulled over. You may be required to perform sobriety field tests and/or a breathalyzer test on the road side, and in states where these traffic stops are legal, it’s completely permissible for cops to administer these tests if they suspect that you’re under the influence. The consequences for a traffic stop DWI conviction are also the same as usual DWI charges.
If nothing else, remember one thing: the best way to get through these traffic stops is to remain calm and polite. To see more, read this.