Law enforcement officers all over Kansas are using traffic check lanes more often than ever before. At these checkpoints, officers may verify that vehicle occupants are wearing seat belts, ask whether drugs or guns are located in the vehicle, or, most often, investigate drivers for driving under the influence aka DUI.
At checkpoints, all traffic is funneled into a certain lane. As cars progress down the lane, they are systematically stopped by the police. In order for the checkpoint to meet constitutional standards, law enforcement must strictly adhere to a designated system for stopping cars. The system must not be executed discriminatorily. The officers have extremely limited discretion regarding which vehicles to stop. If a car is stopped by law enforcement, the stop may only last for a short duration; the car and its passengers must be allowed to proceed unless an officer’s observations make him suspect that some criminal activity is taking place. The officer must be able to particularly describe the basis for his suspicion.
Motorists should be given advance notice of checkpoints. Notice will be provided through news media and by street signs located near the checkpoint. (The DUI Defense Team updates its Facebook page as often as it becomes aware of the check lanes. Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook for information on checkpoints and more.) On-street notices may be located anywhere from a few blocks to a few miles in advance of the check station. However, officers often watch for cars to hastily exit the roadway in advance of a checkpoint. Cars that seem to be avoiding the checkpoint will often be stopped for minor traffic violations, and these stops allow time for further investigation of the vehicle and its passengers.
If you are stopped at a checkpoint, remember that you have the right to remain silent. You cannot be forced to be a witness against yourself. If you are asked how much you have had to drink, you are not required to respond. Print out our handy little DUI info-graphic and keep it in your glove box for future reference.
Check points are tricky, but the DUI Defense Team has managed many checkpoint cases with success. Call us today to schedule your free consultation! DUI Defense Team attorneys are available to assist you in Wichita (316-262-9400), Topeka (785-2335-9300), and Lawrence (785-856-0143).