DUI checkpoints are sometimes unexpected, taking drivers by surprise. Maryland residents might wonder if they are legal in the state.
What are DUI checkpoints?
DUI checkpoints are areas on the road set up by police to check drivers to ensure that they are not driving drunk or impaired. They are normally set up along the highway on holidays known for an uptick in drunk driving such as New Year’s Eve or the 4th of July.
A DUI checkpoint is comprised of roadblocks where police officers stop vehicles randomly and question drivers while checking for signs that they might be under the influence.
Are DUI checkpoints legal?
Although some states have prohibited them, DUI checkpoints are legal in Maryland. However, by law, police must conduct checkpoints under strict requirements. If a driver is arrested for being intoxicated and the officers haven’t followed those requirements, any evidence they present could be thrown out in court and the case dropped.
Checkpoints must be non-discriminatory and random and law enforcement must give the public advance notice that a DUI checkpoint will be conducted in a specific area.
There must be roadway signs giving drivers clear advanced warning that they are approaching a checkpoint. Drivers should also be given the option to turn their vehicle around if they wish to avoid passing through the checkpoint.
Police officers cannot stop a vehicle just because a driver has chosen to turn around to avoid passing through their checkpoint unless they have probable cause to do so. For example, if the officer notices a vehicle has a broken taillight, it would constitute such cause.
When stopped at a checkpoint, you should remain calm and stay in your vehicle. Be clear when answering a police officer’s questions.