One common theme in Nebraska during the holidays are DUI checkpoints, which you will often see at highways and state parks. Basically, it’s where the Nebraska State Patrol or your local Sheriff’s department will set up a stop on the roadway and they interact with every driver that passes through. During these stops, they’re going to ask the same questions you often get during a traffic stop: to see your license, your registration, and proof of insurance. If during the initial interaction they find a reason to expand the inspection, they can detain you for further investigation.
What Do I Have to Do?
One of the worst things that you can do when you see a DUI checkpoint in Nebraska is turn around in the middle of the road and drive the other way. This will give law enforcement reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop and gather further information. So, it is often not a good idea to make a traffic violation in an effort to avoid the DUI checkpoint. As previously mentioned, when you reach the checkpoint law enforcement is most likely to first ask for your license, your registration, your insurance, your name, and things like that. By law, you are required provide that information. They’re probably also going to ask you questions about where you’ve been, where you’re going, and what you’ve done. By law, you are not required to answer these questions. In fact, even if you have been detained for further questioning, you still don’t have to answer those questions. You always have the right to remain silent.
Standardized Field Sobriety Testing at DUI Checkpoints in Nebraska
Standardized field sobriety tests involve participating in psychomotor tasks so law enforcement can gauge if you are under the influence of alcohol. It’s called standardized because the tests are administered the same way to everybody. However, these tests are not required by law, meaning you don’t have to perform these activities if law enforcement asks you to.
Breath Tests in DUI Cases
Breath tests are used by police and other law enforcement agencies to indirectly measure your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) through a test of your breath. In DUI investigations, there are usually two breath tests performed. The first breath test in the field is a preliminary breath test. Unlike the field sobriety test, if you do not submit to the preliminary breath test it’s a Class V misdemeanor. It’s a separate criminal penalty. If you are arrested for refusing a preliminary breath test, you will be taken to the hospital or police station for further testing. So, what happens if you refuse the following breath test at the station? Specifically with a breath sample, if you deny that and you refuse to blow, you will be facing another criminal charge. The criminal charge that you are facing now is punished in the same ways a DUI is. The same loss of license, the same amount of time in jail. Essentially, you’re facing two DUIs out of the same incident.
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Creating a Defense for DUI Checkpoint Investigations
Although DUI checkpoints that lead to a DUI are very similar to a traffic stop, there are additional things that an attorney can look at when fighting your DUI charge. First off, an attorney can look at the checkpoint itself. There are rules that law enforcement officers have to follow when they are operating a DUI checkpoint, including:
- How many vehicles are stopped
- Which vehicles are stopped
- Who is stopping the vehicles
- How long the stop is
For these checkpoints, there must be a plan that’s put into place and it must be approved by the proper people. So, an attorney can look at whichever law enforcement agency was conducting the stop and ensure that they did it pursuant to regulations in law. After that, if somebody is arrested for DUI, we then investigate the DUI the same way we would a typical DUI. This doesn’t mean every case is the same, but our team goes through the same steps on a DUI checkpoint DUI charge as we do in a traffic stop DUI charge.
Consent to Search
If you are at a DUI checkpoint in Nebraska and an officer asks if they can search your vehicle, you do not have to consent to the search. In fact, you never have to consent to a search of your vehicle. So, if they ask, “Can I search your vehicle for drugs?” You can politely decline and say, “I don’t consent to searches.”
DUI Defense Lawyers
Although DUI checkpoints may seem straightforward, there are rules and regulations that are put into place during these traffic stops to ensure that law enforcement is not infringing upon your rights. However, this does not mean they never will. Our team of DUI defense lawyers understand the significance of a DUI charge and how they can alter your career. If you are facing a DUI charge in Nebraska due to a DUI checkpoint, please contact Berry law today to schedule a confidential consultation and see how we can help.