Memorial Day is fast approaching, and while the intention of the holiday is to honor those who died while serving in the military, it has also become the unofficial kickoff to summer. Barbecues and parties are common on Memorial Day - as are drunk driving arrests. Officers generally step up DUI patrols and checkpoints during holiday weekends, and this leads to a corresponding spike in DUI arrests.
The first thing that an officer usually does if you are stopped at a checkpoint is to begin asking you some general questions. These may include where you've been, where you're heading or if you've had anything to drink that night. The officer then listens carefully to your responses watching for signs of impairment. However many people are not aware that you are not legally required to talk to an officer at a checkpoint. Instead you can present the officer with a card - with the window rolled up - that you are exercising your right to speak to an attorney before talking with officers and to leave if you are not under arrest. If you are pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, however, your options are more limited. While you can refuse field sobriety tests or chemical tests like a Breathalyzer, doing so means that your license can be suspended and you may still be charged with a DUI.
It's important to understand that drunk driving charges are extremely serious. If you're convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, it can mean having your license suspended for a first offense and jail time and significant fines for repeat offenses. If you find yourself facing DUI charges, talking with a criminal defense attorney should be your first step. It's important to have a full understanding of both your rights and your options before making decisions about your defense strategy.