Denver DUI Checkpoints
In an effort to curb drunk driving and drugged driving, Colorado law enforcement officials often set up DUI checkpoints in Denver and other metro areas throughout the state. While these can and do occur at any time throughout the year, you are likely to see an increase of these checkpoints between Memorial Day and Labor Day. These checkpoints are successful from a law enforcement standpoint: over Labor Day weekend in 2012, for instance, officers made nearly 450 DUI arrests.
The Legalities Behind DUI Checkpoints in Denver
According to Colorado state and federal law, DUI checkpoints are legal. They do not violate constitutional rights. They can, however, become illegal should the officers in charge of the checkpoint fail to follow strict guidelines. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Use of Sobriety Checkpoints for Impaired Driving Enforcement Manual, some of those guidelines include:
- Police must put up signs that warn of an upcoming checkpoint.
- Police must stop cars the checkpoint according to a predetermined plan (e.g., every car, every other car, etc.). Random stops and searches are not permissible.
- The checkpoints can only last for a set of period of time.
- Uniformed officers should staff the checkpoints to make a visible policy presence
The manual also lays out which specific signs or indicators of impairment that officers should look for upon initial contact with a driver:
- Alcohol or drug-related odors
- Alcohol or drug paraphernalia
- Bloodshot eyes
- Fumbling fingers
- Slurred speech
- Inconsistent responses
- Admission of drinking or drug use
If an officer suspects impairment, he or she can then ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and require field sobriety tests, breath tests and blood tests.
Jay Tiftickjian’s Recommendations on Sobriety Checkpoints
If you see a sign for a DUI checkpoint coming ahead, it is highly unlikely that you will avoid passing through these patrols. While the patrol must provide drivers with an alternative route away from the checkpoint, it doesn’t mean that route goes unwatched. “If you do turn off,” attorney Tiftickjian says, “an officer will be watching you, following you and the moment you make a traffic violation you will be pulled over.”
Your best bet is to not drink and drive. If you do drink, designate a driver to remain sober while you are out. If you must drive, know that you can still face drunk driving charges even if you are not at or over the legal .08 limit. That is because Colorado is one of a few states that make it a crime for someone to drive with a BAC of .05 to .08. This is a lesser drunk driving crime known as DWAI, or driving while ability impaired.
Regardless of the drunk driving charge you are facing, know that you need diligent DUI defense by your side. You want to avoid as many consequences as possible, including the hundreds of dollars in fines, jail time, license suspension or revocation, and more.
Charged With DUI After a DUI Checkpoint? Call Tiftickjian Law Firm.
We see a large number of first DUI offenders coming from DUI checkpoints. “Almost everyone that comes in that gets arrested for DUI or gets in an accident says ‘this isn’t me, I’ve never done this before, it’s a one-time deal.’ But all it takes is one time and that one time can change the rest of your life and someone else’s life,” says Jay Tiftickjian. Do not let this one instance ruin your life or place a permanent mark on your record. Turn to the knowledgeable team at Tiftickjian Law firm for the dedicated defense you deserve and need. Call us at 303-384-5280 or contact our Denver DUI defense firm online.