Maryland DWI Checkpoint
Over the past few years, Maryland law enforcement officials have started focusing on ways to apprehend drunk drivers and reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents. As a result of these efforts, Maryland DWI checkpoints have become a common sight on state roads and intersections. Unfortunately, although they are designed to help officers identify impaired drivers, these so-called safety checks can often lead to false arrests. As a result, it is important to contact an attorney if you are arrested for drunk driving during a DWI checkpoint.
Despite the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable search and seizures, several courts have determined that DWI checkpoints are an exception to this rule. However, authorities are still required to follow certain legal guidelines before conducting any type of DWI checkpoint.
First and foremost, the public must be given advanced notice of the checkpoint—more specifically, the time and location must be announced to the community (usually via the newspaper or radio). On the day of the checkpoint, signs must also be posted in order to notify drivers of the event.
When it comes to the checkpoint itself, the event must be conducted by uniformed officers in police vehicles. Drivers should be chosen randomly, using a predetermined method (such as every other vehicle, for example).In addition, officers may not arrest a driver for turning around in order to avoid the checkpoint.
If you are stopped in a DWI checkpoint, you are only required to answer questions pertaining to your identity—such as your name and address, for instance. While the officer may ask to see your driver’s license and proof of insurance, you are not obligated to answer any questions regarding your past or future activities. In fact, if the officer does ask such questions, it is best to positively decline to answer them, as anything you say can be used as evidence against you if you are arrested.
As you can see, there are several restrictions to be aware of when it comes to Maryland DWI checkpoints. If you were arrested for drunk driving after being stopped in a DWI checkpoint, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced defense attorney to ensure the charges are justified.