Police officers sometimes set up checkpoints where they stop drivers to check for drunk or otherwise impaired drivers. These checkpoints are often conducted during holidays and other times when more drunk driving accidents tend to occur.
What should you do if you encounter a DUI checkpoint in Maryland?
Maryland DUI checkpoint laws
Maryland law requires police officers to follow specific guidelines for any evidence they collect at a DUI checkpoint to be legally admissible in court:
- Police must announce checkpoints to the public before setting them up
- Uniformed officers must operate checkpoints
- Officers must select vehicles to stop randomly
What to do at the checkpoint
The officers will probably look over your vehicle for obvious violations, such as broken taillights or expired tags. They may ask you questions, such as whether you have been drinking. Drive normally and keep up with the traffic when passing through a checkpoint. Make note of the pattern officers are using to stop the vehicles in front of you so that you will know if they are following the requirement to choose vehicles randomly.
Your rights at the checkpoint
The only answers to questions you must provide are your name and address. You do not need to tell the officer where you were going or what you were doing. Your Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself applies at checkpoints. You do not have to admit to drinking or answer that question at all.
Passing through a DUI checkpoint can be nerve-wracking. Stay calm and know your rights. If you believe the police have violated your rights, be sure to include this information in your defense if they charge you with a crime.