Maryland DUI checkpoints are becoming more common. Especially around holidays such as Labor Day, New Year’s Eve, and St. Patrick’s Day. Thus it is important that drivers understand their rights in the event that they encounter one of these roadblocks.
What is a Maryland DUI Checkpoint
A DUI Checkpoint is a police created roadblock where all traffic must pass through on that section of the roadway. Police will stop every 3rd, 5th, or 10th car, or something to that effect. The police will ask for a driver’s license and registration and then will ask questions about the night’s events and alcohol consumption.
It is important to keep in mind that police do not have the right to check your driver’s license or registration when a violation has not occurred.
However, if they have a reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence, they may request to see your driver’s license and registration—even if a legal violation did not occur. An officer may become suspicious of you if you act in a way that is uncooperative or disruptive to their process.
Maryland DUI Checkpoints – What is the law?
The law in this area is really quite simple. The police may utilize a DUI checkpoint to pull your car over without reasonable articulable suspicion (the standard that is usually required). See here for a similar conclusion from the Maryland Court of Appeals. When running a DUI checkpoint, they must follow a few simple rules. Trying to put forward a series of factors to justify such intrusion into your personal space.
- The State must justify an interest in enforcing the DUI laws
- They must prove what extent the interest was advanced by the checkpoint, and
- The level of intrusion to individuals stopped by police (see Sitz).
Other things courts look for is the random nature of the cars which are stopped at a DUI checkpoint (i.e. every 4th car being stopped for a more extensive inquiry).
What Can You Do if Faced with a DUI in Maryland?
You may be wondering what you can do if you encounter such a roadblock.
Well, you can execute a legal U-turn prior to the roadblock and make your exit.
That according to Federal Magistrate Judge Gauvey. A judge on the United States District Court for Maryland and my former boss.
However, if you fail to execute the U-turn lawfully, or fail to obey some other rule of the road, officers will have a legal justification to stop you. Although they will probably stop you anyway, and worry about the legality in court.
Maryland DUI Checkpoint and Your Rights
If you reach a DUI checkpoint, you have the right to provide officers with an assertion of your rights. This is a document which states, among other things, that:
- you refuse to speak with the officer until consulting with your attorney
- that you refuse consent for any search of your vehicle or property
- you are exercising your Constitutional rights
- you refuse to participate in questioning without an attorney present
- that you wish to leave the checkpoint if you are not under arrest, and you wish to be advised of your arrest status immediately
Click here to download an assertion of rights document that can be used at DUI checkpoints.
What to do at a Maryland DUI Checkpoint
If you are pulled over during a DUI checkpoint in Maryland, you are not required to answer any questions.
If you do, politely responding, “I would like to speak with a Maryland attorney before I answer any questions,” is always appropriate. If you do answer potentially incriminating questions, you may provide police with evidence of your intoxication. Maybe even a reason to place you under arrest.
An officer at a DUI checkpoint may request that you take a field sobriety test. In this situation, understand that you always have the right to refuse. However, individuals who refuse a test will often be placed under arrest. On many occasions, an officer may have already decided whether or not to arrest the driver. Regardless of whether they submit to a field sobriety test.
Maryland DUI Checkpoint Plan
Here is a video that was done under Florida law by a lawyer. But it will definitely work in Maryland at a DUI checkpoint.
How do I know it will work in Maryland at a DUI checkpoint?
Maryland State Police said it would work in an interview on Fox 45, and case law agrees with them.
What about a regular traffic stop? It could work with a few adjustments.
ENLawyers DUI Checkpoint Plan
- Click flyers below and print them on one double-sided sheet
- Put your license and registration in a plastic bag with the flyer
- Hang it outside your window like shown on the video
These flyers are specific to Maryland Laws
Don’t be a schmuck and try to do this when you’re truly drunk or high. You’ll just end up face down on the hood of your car and being cuffed behind your back.
In order for this to work, you need to be coherent, logical, and prepared for a safe encounter with police.
Getting Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint in Maryland
If you are placed under arrest at a Maryland DUI checkpoint, do not speak with any officers or answer any questions. Wait until you have an experienced DUI attorney present. A Maryland DUI attorney can advise you on:
- Your rights
- Potential consequences of your charge
- How to approach the legal proceedings following your arrest
To schedule a consultation for your individual case fill out the form below or call (443) 559-4384.