Maryland is getting more and more strict about cracking down on those who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Sobriety checkpoints are being set up often throughout the state. Understanding what they are and what to do when you find yourself at one is crucial to knowing your rights and avoiding harsh punishment. Our experienced DUI lawyers in Towson, MD can help.
What is a Sobriety Checkpoint?
A sobriety checkpoint is one of Maryland‘s attempts to curb the number of unsafe drivers on the road who have been drinking alcohol or consuming drugs. Sobriety checkpoints are often labeled with signs, but if they are not, you will likely notice a stopping of traffic with law enforcement officers and police vehicles at the head of the line.
Sometimes roads will be temporarily blocked off in order for sobriety testing to take place before traffic is allowed to pass. When you reach the head of the line, you will be greeted by an officer of the law and asked to provide your driver’s license and vehicle registration.
What Do Officers Look For at a Sobriety Checkpoint?
The purpose of a sobriety checkpoint is to find and arrest impaired drivers to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road. When the officer approaches your vehicle, he or she will be looking for common signs of impairment:
- The smell of alcohol
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- A flushed face
- Lack of coordination
If the officer suspects you may be under the influence, they will have you take a field sobriety test, which can include the following tasks to determine your balance and coordination:
- Standing on one leg
- Following an object with your eyes
- Walking in a straight line
- Counting or reciting the alphabet in various ways
- Touching your finger to your nose
What Should I Do If I Reach a Sobriety Checkpoint?
Have the necessary documents ready to provide the law enforcement officer when you find yourself at a sobriety checkpoint. Wait for the officer to ask you questions before volunteering information that could make you look suspicious. Exercise patience and avoid aggressive or hostile behaviors.
Because police officers are often stationed around the perimeter of sobriety checkpoints in Towson, MD, it’s best to continue through the checkpoint after you’ve been drinking, as turning around can alert the officers and make them highly suspicious. They can easily spot you turning around and may follow you to pull you over elsewhere.
Your Best Resource for Traffic Violations and DUI Charges in Towson, MD
Albers & Associates specializes in DUI law and can help you navigate the legal process that begins when you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Our team of professionals will advocate for your rights and fight for fair treatment to ensure you avoid harsh penalties for your offense. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation for legal services in Maryland.