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Does Arizona allow DUI checkpoints?

If you have been charged with DUI in Arizona, contact us now for quality DUI Defense. We have assisted thousands of people in Phoenix and beyond with DUI cases.

Not all states permit DUI checkpoints, but Arizona allows them. Some states have found them to be unconstitutional as a violation of the search and seizure limitations of the Fourth Amendment. Other states have raised concerns due to Fifth Amendment self-incrimination issue.

A recent client who relocated to Phoenix was confused about this when stopped. They had never once heard of a checkpoint. They contacted their Spokane DUI lawyer back in Washington but laws are different in AZ. Here, checkpoints are legal in the whole state in people in Maricopa County are used to seeing them in Gilbert, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and other nearby cities. After searching for a great, local attorney, they found us.

Checkpoints must comply with specific guidelines

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of those states that have allowed DUI checkpoints, but certain guidelines must be implemented and followed. In general, the checkpoints must be:

• Decided in advance
• At a designated location
• Be widely announced through the media
• Have highly visible signs that a roadblock is ahead on the road
• Stopping of cars must be random

DUI checkpoints must comply with specific guidelines

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has established guidelines for DUI checkpoints. Arizona has adopted those guidelines, and it uses them. If you’re one of the drivers who is randomly selected to be stopped at a DUI roadblock, you’ll be requested to produce your driver’s license and vehicle registration. The requesting officer will also perform a brief assessment on you. He or she will be evaluating your demeanor, ability to produce the items requested, speech and eyes. If the officer forms a belief that you’ve consumed alcohol or drugs, you’ll likely be asked to perform a battery of field sobriety tests.

Field sobriety tests

No matter how authoritative a police officer might sound, he or she is merely asking you to perform the field sobriety tests. Nobody would be commanding you to do so. Standard field sobriety tests consist of:

• The horizontal gaze nystagmus test
• The standing on one leg test
• The walk a straight line and turn test

Why give the prosecution more evidence to try to convict you with?

Arizona law does not require a person to submit to these tests, and most DUI defense attorneys tell their clients to politely refuse to perform them. If a person is suspected of DUI, he or she would only be providing the prosecution with more evidence to convict them with. They’re even difficult for many unimpaired drivers to pass. Failure to satisfactorily perform on field sobriety tests will result in the police officer requesting breath testing. Arizona law doesn’t require you to submit to breath testing either, but you’re likely to be immediately taken into custody on a DUI charge and lose your driver’s license for a year. Your refusal to submit to breath testing can also be used against you in court. If the officer wants to be persistent, he or she can obtain a search warrant for a blood draw. Failure to cooperate with a blood draw will probably result in additional charges.

Defenses exist to DUI checkpoint arrests. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation on any issues that you might have with a DUI checkpoint arrest.

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About the Author

Mr. Sloan has spent the last 14+ years focusing his attention on DUI representation. He has done more than 100 felony trials and has earned numerous favorable results for his clients, including Not Guilty verdicts, dismissal of cases, and beneficial plea agreements.