If you are out of a weekend or during a special event in the Las Vegas area, there is a good chance you may encounter a sobriety checkpoint. As the name suggests, these are places on the road where the police can stop a driver in order to assess whether he or she has been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Being stopped can be intimidating but knowing your rights in this situation can help you avoid making critical mistakes.
Sobriety Checkpoint Rules
Although the police are permitted to set up checkpoints, this does not mean that there are not rules which apply to them. In fact, if the police fail to observe certain requirements and they arrest someone for a DUI, the charge may end up being dismissed.
According to Nevada law, the police must establish at a point on the highway clearly visible to approaching traffic at a distance of not less than 100 yards in either direction.
The law also requires that at the checkpoint entrance the police must:
• Place a sign near the centerline of the highway displaying the words “Stop” which can be read from not less than 50 yards away, day or night;
• Place at least one least one red flashing or intermittent light, on and burning, on the side of the highway, clearly visible to the oncoming traffic at a distance of not less than 100 yards; and
• Place warning signs no less than one-quarter mile from the roadblock entrance in a rural area and seven hundred feet in an urban area which contain wording to convey that a “police stop” lies ahead which are situated near a burning beam light, flare or lantern.
Additionally, the police are not permitted to select drivers at the checkpoint in a discriminatory manner.
During the stop
Although the police cannot pull you over for a discriminatory reason such as race, you can be stopped if you are driving in a manner which creates a reasonable suspicion that you are inebriated. The police are watching for unusual or erratic behavior which could be attributed to driving while drunk or on drugs. If you are stopped, you are not required to give the officer information beyond your license, registration, and proof of insurance. As with any DUI stop, you are not required to answer questions about whether you have been drinking and it is okay to decline to respond to the question. You may also refuse a field sobriety test if requested.
You do not have to go through the checkpoint
Seeing police cars and uniformed officers gathered and stopping drivers may give the impression that you have no choice but to proceed through the process. However, it is important to note that you are not legally required to go through a Nevada sobriety checkpoint. While it is illegal to proceed without stopping, it is perfectly all right to turn away from the checkpoint provided you can do so safely by following traffic laws.
Contact an Experienced DWI/DUI Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for DUI or DWI, you want an attorney that can get you the best possible outcome in your situation. At the Law Office of Darren Weiss, we have the experience you need at every stage of your case. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.