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How can I avoid trouble at a sobriety checkpoint?

Maybe you are 100 percent sober. Perhaps you've consumed a couple of alcoholic beverages over the last few hours. Or maybe you're borderline drunk. Regardless of your situation, your nerves are sure to kick in as you approach a sobriety checkpoint.

You hope to quickly make your way through the checkpoint, but there's no way of knowing exactly what will happen. This is particularly true if you have alcohol in your system.

What to do (and not do)

The best way to avoid trouble at a sobriety checkpoint is to make a pact with yourself to never drink and drive. If you're sober, you won't be put under arrest at a sobriety checkpoint for driving under the influence.

Here are five other things you should do:

  • Consider turning around: You're permitted by law to turn around before reaching a sobriety checkpoint, but only if you do so in a legal manner. Since it looks suspicious, police will look for any reason to pull you over. If you're going to turn around, do so while following the rules of the road.
  • Avoid erratic behavior: Examples include changing lanes multiple times, swerving, driving too slowly or pumping your brakes. This type of behavior makes you look suspicious, thus giving officers more of a reason to target you when you reach the checkpoint.
  • Don't talk about your legal rights: This isn't the right time to explain your legal rights. It's also a bad idea to talk back. Aggressive behavior gives the officer reason to believe you're intoxicated. Even if you're not arrested for DUI, your behavior could lead to other charges.
  • Stay in your vehicle: Pulling up to a checkpoint and trying to get out of your vehicle is a mistake. An officer may come to your window, request information (like your license, insurance and registration) and ask a variety of questions. Unless you're asked to get out of your vehicle, stay where you are.
  • Don't say too much: Stick to the facts and nothing but the facts. If you begin to elaborate, it's possible you'll say something that raises suspicion. Your goal is to cooperate and leave the checkpoint quickly. It's that simple.

Protecting your rights

If you are arrested at a Massachusetts DUI checkpoint, exercise your right to remain silent. After you're processed and released, learn more about your legal rights and the steps you can take in the future to minimize or prevent consequences such as a license suspension and jail time.

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