Sobriety checkpoints – also known as driving under the influence (DUI) roadblocks – are popular law enforcement tools. They allow departments to screen dozens of people rapidly and to remind motorists of the risk of getting arrested if they drive home after having too much to drink.
Oklahoma police departments frequently organize sobriety checkpoints near holiday weekends or when there are major events that will likely lead to people consuming alcohol and traveling through the area. State courts have affirmed the legality of such checkpoints.
What happens when a motorist encounters a DUI checkpoint on Oklahoma roads?
They will have a brief interaction with the police
Driving is a privilege and not a right, and therefore it is reasonable for police officers to engage in enforcement efforts to promote public safety, provided that they do not cause undue hardship in the attempts to screen drivers for intoxication.
Officers typically can only ask a few questions to the drivers who passed through the checkpoint unless there are signs that someone may be under the influence. The presence of open containers of alcohol or someone behaving as though they have had too much to drink may lead to an officer asking someone to submit to additional screening.
These motorists will go through the same experience as those pulled over for a targeted drunk driving stop. They will typically need to perform field sobriety tests and submit to chemical testing. Those that fail will likely end up arrested.
They often can drive away before the checkpoint
It is possible for someone who spots a checkpoint up ahead or hears a warning about it from others while driving to intentionally reroute their vehicle to avoid the checkpoint. Motorists can potentially turn away so that they don’t have to stop and wait for the officers to get through the line of traffic to talk to them.
Those who do encounter a checkpoint and who wind up arrested (perhaps, much to their surprise) may have options for defending against the charges they’re facing. Reviewing the circumstances that led to a drunk driving arrest while seeking legal guidance can help someone determine how to respond to those charges in Oklahoma criminal court.