Know your Rights at Drunk Driving Roadblocks

Posted on July 4, 2011 by Joseph

It’s 4th of July and that means DUI roadblocks will be out in force. Know your rights if you encounter one this weekend.

If ever in doubt, default to this simple process: First, ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says you are, then leave. If the officer says anything other than “yes,” tell the officer that you will not be answering any questions or performing any tests without first consulting a lawyer. Then stay silent.
However, an OUI roadblock presents specific challenges from the perspective of defending a drunk driving case. So other than default advice above, and the most important advice of all, which is to not drink and drive, here are a few “Dos and Don’ts” to follow:

…When you first pull up, remain calm, provide any requested documentation
…Speak in clear but succinct one or two word answers. Say as little as possible.
…Answer only the very first simple questions such as “where are you coming from.”
…Calmly and politely ask if you are free to leave if the encounter lasts for more than 15-20 seconds.
…If asked to exit the car, first ask whether you are free to leave.
…If you think arrest is imminent, ask if you may contact a lawyer on your cell phone, and contact me at 617-858-1529.
…Let an officer see you place a piece of gum or candy in your mouth
…Admit to consuming alcohol
…Participate in any field sobriety tests
…Participate in any medical or “drug recognition” tests
…Submit to any portable breath testing device
…Fall victim to pressure tactics such as “if you refuse I will arrest you.” Let him arrest you and and contact a lawyer who will work to get the charges dismissed.
Remember on this 4th of July that we live in America. Non-cooperation with police is practically in our national DNA. Though they may arrest you, they will rarely beat you or physically harm you due to simple non-cooperation. You can be polite and non-hostile while protecting your rights. Never get into a physical altercation with police, but never be afraid to remain silent.