Sobriety Checkpoints In Massachusetts
Are They Even Legal?
The short answer to this question is “yes” — in Massachusetts, sobriety checkpoints can be set up year-round at the discretion of the state police. Many residents of the Bostonwest area are familiar with sobriety checkpoints, and if one is set up in your area, you will likely be stopped if you drive through it.
The fact that checkpoints are legal does not necessarily mean stops are always conducted legally. Police officers must follow several strict procedures when conducting sobriety checkpoints. If you were charged with operating your vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OUI, commonly called DUI) following a traffic stop at a sobriety checkpoint, I will defend your rights, taking any evidence collected at the stop into account.
Contact my firm to discuss your circumstances involving a sobriety checkpoint by calling 508-319-1641. I am a former prosecutor who represents clients stopped in and around Framingham and the entire MetroWest.
How OUI/DUI Checkpoints Are Typically Administered
In general, law enforcement officials who set up a sobriety checkpoint must stop vehicles according to a predetermined pattern such as stopping every third or fourth car, unless there is obvious probable cause that someone is driving drunk. They must also make it clear where a checkpoint will be, either through community channels or by posting signage leading up to the checkpoint.
It’s important to remember that any deliberate attempts to avoid the checkpoint once you see it may be seen as a sign that you are driving impaired. As such, an officer in the “chase” car may pull you over anyway if you are seen trying to avoid the checkpoint. While going through a checkpoint is a nuisance, you often have much to gain by being polite and answering the officer’s questions succinctly. Keep in mind also that you have the right to remain silent.
Your Rights Must Still Be Upheld
Remember that the principle of probable cause is still a factor at sobriety checkpoints. This means that police cannot ask you to take field sobriety tests or undergo a Breathalyzer unless they have reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence.
If you were stopped and subsequently charged with OUI/DUI, I can investigate whether this right was upheld and the proper procedures followed. If not, I can aggressively work to have your charges reduced or dropped on the basis of acting without improbable cause. As a former prosecutor and defense lawyer with more than 18 years’ experience, I will put my skills to work in helping you protect your rights through tactical negotiations or in court, if necessary.
Seek An Advocate Who Will Fight For You
Regardless of how you came under suspicion of drunk driving, I can help you understand your options for fighting for your rights. To schedule a consultation — the first of which is absolutely free — contact me by email or call my office in Natick at 508-319-1641. Calls are monitored 24/7.