Sobriety Checkpoints Hit Hamilton County–3 Things to Know

 

Wait–a sobriety checkpoint is being publicized on social media or by a big orange sign on the road? These advance warnings are designed to help police comply with the law. Here are three things you should know about Sobriety Checkpoints:

1. Sobriety Checkpoints are legal and constitutional.
Generally, for the police to pull you over, the officer must have some reasonable suspicion to believe that you have done something wrong. However, both the United States Supreme Court and the Indiana Supreme Court have held that sobriety checkpoints are legal, if they are brief, directed at combatting drunk driving, and neutral. Law enforcement agencies have developed strict criteria. (While the precise location isn’t announced in advance, in Hamilton County, Indiana, the prior checkpoints, are available at: http://www.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/503/Checkpoint-Data — note some locations recur).

2. It’s not illegal to take an alternate route to avoid a checkpoint.
If you see a checkpoint and have a safe, legal opportunity to avoid it, nothing prevents you from taking a detour.

3. If you are stopped at a checkpoint, cooperate.
If you are asked to identify yourself, simply cooperate with the request.  If the officer suspects that you are intoxicated and requests that you take a chemical test, refusing to do so carries no real benefit. When you got your Indiana driver’s license you implicitly agreed to take a chemical test if you are suspected of Operating While Intoxicated (“OWI”).  In fact, your refusal can be used as evidence of guilt. Refusing also results in suspension of your driver’s license for 1-2 years; this is above and beyond any sentence for an OWI conviction. The best practice is not to refuse the chemical test but to address any charges that may arise with an attorney later.

If you are cited or arrested for OWI or Operating a Motor Vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent, know your rights.  Click the Schedule Now button in the contact window alongside this point, or Jill Acklin at 317-848-6187.  You may also email gethelp@chrismcgrathlaw.com.  Know your options.