Ohio DUI Checkpoints – Your Rights

Linda Malek

DUI checkpoints are a legal means for police departments to enforce their zero tolerance for driving while under the influence. The US Supreme Courts 1990 ruling made these checkpoints legal assuming that they would operate under specific guidelines.

How Would a Non-Resident Know About a Checkpoint?

Where Are the Checkpoints?

The checkpoint must be located in an area where there is a lengthy history of alcohol-related incidents according to The Ohio State Highway Patrol. There is no formal "list' of the checkpoints, however, residents must be notified a week prior. This notice would include the time, date, and the location of the checkpoint.

Checkpoints can be recognized by large reflective signs and marked police cars. It is at this point that vehicles are permitted to turn around. Once you enter the zone marked off by cones and a sign signaling that a sobriety checkpoint is ahead, you are legally not permitted to exit the checkpoint. This area would be hard to miss considering the flares, portable lights, and police cars.

What Happens Once I Am in the Checkpoint?

Every car will not be stopped. Some will be permitted to pass through. Police officers are trained on what to look for that may seem suspicious. If you are stopped, the officer will look for signs of impairment such as slurred speech, smell of alcohol, and other factors that may indicate you are under the influence.

Should an officer find any sign of impairment, you will be directed to a screening area where a field sobriety test will be administered. This test was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What Does The Sobriety Test Consist Of?

During this test, you may be asked to:

  • Walk a straight line
  • Stand on one foot
  • Follow a moving object with your eyes

Should you fail one or more of these tests, the officer would have probable cause to arrest.

If you are arrested at a checkpoint, remember your rights, and contact Akron DUI Lawyer Linda M. Malek. If you cannot afford an attorney, you will be represented by a public defender.

Please be safe, and always remember that drinking and driving is illegal and affects the safety of you and others on the road.

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