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What should you expect at a sobriety checkpoint?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Alcohol-related Charges, Drunk Driving

In Maryland, one common element that often leads to driving while impaired (DWI) charges is a sobriety checkpoint. For most drivers, the thought of being stopped at a checkpoint can be unsettling. However, knowing what to expect can make all the difference.

This blog will explain what you need to know to navigate a sobriety checkpoint confidently. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or just got your license, understanding the process may give you the information you need to protect yourself and your rights.

A quick look at sobriety checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints, also known as DWI checkpoints, are predetermined areas where police and other law enforcement officers stop cars to check for impaired drivers. These checkpoints aim to lower drunk driving incidents and promote road safety.

You may notice signs alerting you to the upcoming stop when you approach a checkpoint. Officers will direct you into a designated lane where they will briefly interact with you. During this conversation, they will look for indications of impairment, such as the smell of alcoholic substances, slurred speech or open containers in the vehicle.

If an officer suspects impairment, they may ask you to pull over to a separate area for further investigation, which can include field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer test. Maryland has an implied consent law, which means refusing these tests may result in automatic license suspension.

Prioritize safety and reduce the risk of DWI charges

Always drive sober to avoid potential issues at sobriety checkpoints. If you plan to drink, you may arrange for a designated driver, use a ride-sharing service or call a taxi. It is also wise to keep your vehicle in good condition, as officers may use equipment violations as a reason for further investigation.