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28Nov
Learn if it is legal to turn around at a DWI checkpoint.

What Are Your Rights At DWI/DUI Checkpoints In Louisiana? 

When it comes to driving in Louisiana it is important to know what are your rights at DUI checkpoints in Louisiana. There is a large amount of misinformation that tends to exist around what a person’s rights are when it comes to a DUI stop. No longer will you have to worry about being misinformed when it comes to driving in Louisiana

If you are ready to learn what your rights at DUI checkpoints are, then grab your computer, and let’s get started learning about your rights at DUI checkpoints!

Things To Know Regarding Your Rights At DWI Check Points In LA

You Have The Right To Remain Silent 

When you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you have the right to remain silent and not give away anything that could incriminate you when a police officer is questioning you. You are not required by law to say anything behind what you have to when being questioned or stopped, and in fact, the law grants you the ability to refuse to say absolutely anything. 

It can sometimes make you seem like you possibly have something to hide, but better that you say nothing than saying something unnecessary, which causes you to be arrested. Always remember, the police can not use anything against you that you do not say or is said before your Miranda rights have been read. 

You Are Allowed To Refuse A Search Of Your Belongings And Vehicle

Now, something that not many people know when it comes to a DUI stop in Louisiana is that you are allowed to refuse a police officer asking to search your belongings or vehicle. Most people believe that if a police officer asks you to search your belongings or vehicle, you have to comply with them, but that is not true. 

Unless the officer has a search warrant to search your belongings and vehicle, legally, they can not search you without your permission. This is why they always ask you, and most people will just say yes because they believe they have to according to the law. But, of course, it can be more troublesome for you to refuse if you have nothing to hide, but this is something to keep in mind.

There are, however, some cases in which the officer could search you even if they do not have a warrant to search your belongings or vehicle. These are special cases, such as car accident DWI and others, and they will all be outlined below so you can be entirely certain of when and when not a police officer can search you. 

If you decide to refuse a search of your vehicle or belongings when you are pulled over, it is essential you remain calm and respectful the entire time. Even if the officer who wishes to do the search tries to heavy hand you or make you think you have to allow them to search. Staying calm and polite will help decrease the chance of anything unwanted occurring and shows you to be the bigger person. 

PRO TIP: Read this article to learn if non-alcoholics get DUI’s!

Consent And The Plain View Doctrine When At A DUI Checkpoint In Louisiana 

When you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint and are asked to submit to a search, you have the option to refuse the search, but you can also consent to a search which is what this section is going to go over. What the consent and plain view doctrine mean is that as long as you give consent, an officer is allowed to search your belongings and vehicle for drugs or anything else they are currently searching for. 

However, there is another thing to keep in mind with the plain view doctrine, and that is, if the officer sees something illegal in plain view within your vehicle, they are allowed to continue searching without a warrant. This ensures that no one with illegal belongings can get away with possession because the officer does not have a search warrant. 

Typically, it is better to let an officer search your car and belongings if you have nothing to hide. You will save yourself time, and possible frustration as the officer tries to get you to agree to a search. In some cases, an officer may even get a search warrant faxed to his car if you refuse to allow a search. 

If You Are Being Arrested You Can Be Searched Without A Search Warrant

It goes without saying that if you are currently being arrested, then the officers are allowed to search your vehicle and belongings even if they do not have a search warrant. If you are already being arrested, then your car and belongings are allowed to be searched to ensure you are not carrying any illegal goods in your vehicle. 

The other main reason why this is allowed is in case you have a weapon or other dangerous item in your vehicle that could potentially injure the officer. No officer wants to be hurt while on the job, and you should always do your part to help ensure they are not being injured while they are doing their job. 

Evading The Checkpoint Before You Even Arrive At It

Evading the checkpoint before you even arrive at it is typically a gray area in the legalities of it. Still, usually, so long as you do not break any traffic laws doing so, you can turn around or go down another road to bypass the checkpoint to begin with. However, this is rarely recommended as it could cause you to bring attention to yourself, and you may be pulled over.

If you see a DUI checkpoint coming up in front of you and you want to avoid it, ensure you follow traffic laws when either making a U-turn or going down another route to get where you need to go. Once again, this is not recommended and could cause you to get pulled over for avoiding the checkpoint, but it is one of the options available to you. 

You Do Not Have To Remain At A DUI Checkpoint Unless You Are Being Detained Or Arrested

Another major thing to keep in mind when it comes to DUI checkpoints is that you do not have to remain at a DUI checkpoint unless you are being arrested or detained. So legally, no officer can make you stay at a checkpoint unless they are actively arresting you or detaining you, and for that, you would have to do something illegal, or they would need a warrant for you. 

If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you should first ask the officer if you are being arrested or detained if you do not wish to stay or consent to a search. If the answer is no, you can politely and respectfully tell them you will be on your way. It is important you are always calm and deal with the officer politely and respectfully. Remember, they are just trying to do their job and do not want trouble any more than you do. 

Some officers may try to get heavy-handed with you and threaten to get a warrant for a search, but usually, they will not go through this process unless they have cause to believe you could have something illegal. In Louisiana, though, it is quite probable for the officer to have a search warrant faxed directly to his vehicle while having you wait. 

This is why it tends to be easier to answer the officer’s questions if you do not have anything to hide from them. 

DWI Lawyer in Louisiana

DUI checkpoints can be annoying at times, and you may not always know what your rights are at them or what you should or should not be doing. Doing the wrong thing can land you in jail and with DUI charges you need to deal with. In such instances, it’s recommended that you hire a skilled dwi lawyer like at the Barkemeyer Law Firm. If this is your first offense, it will be a blessing because things get more complicated the more DWI’s you get! However, the team of attorneys at Carl Barkemeyer’s firm will certainly help you with your case!

When facing a DUI checkpoint there are a few things to keep in mind we hope we have outlined. Just always be calm and respectful towards any officers who may be there, and do your research beforehand. You know what are your rights at DUI checkpoints in Louisiana.

Carl Barkemeyer wrote the published book on DWI: Practical Information for the Accused and Attorneys in Louisiana. He regularly gives lectures and advice to other attorneys regarding how to successfully defend clients for DWI.
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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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