If you drive in Maryland long enough, the chances are fairly high that you will happen upon a DUI checkpoint eventually. When it happens, the first thing you will probably see is a sign alerting you about the checkpoint up ahead.
While there has been much debate about the legality of these checkpoints in regard to the 4th amendment, they have been deemed legal by the Supreme Court. So it is left up to each state as to whether they permit DUI checkpoints. For better or worse, Maryland is a state that does allow them, hence you will see them fairly frequently in Montgomery County, Harford County, and Prince Georges County; Howard County and Anne Arundel County deploy DUI checkpoints less frequently, but there is still a chance you could encounter one in those counties or others throughout the state.
Maryland laws define the requirements that law enforcement must follow when conducting DUI/sobriety checkpoints. Failure by law enforcement to follow these requirements can mean that evidence obtained at a checkpoint will be inadmissible in court. Some of these requirements are:
- A Maryland DUI roadblock or sobriety checkpoint must be announced to the public ahead of time. This can be done via newspaper, radio, social media or road signs to alert the public of an upcoming checkpoint.
- The checkpoint must be manned by uniformed officers. Technically, this means that an unmarked car or plain-clothes cop should not pull you over for questioning at a checkpoint.
- The selection of vehicles for questioning must be randomized. In other words, they may stop every third car, but they are not allowed to break from this protocol to stop someone who they believe to be impaired. They may, however, pull that person over after the checkpoint if they observe erratic behavior going through the sobriety stop.
Here are a few things you need to know as a driver when you are selected at random at a DUI checkpoint in Maryland
- Answer only the questions you are required to, which are:
Any questions about your whereabouts, plans and the like do NOT require answering. You are within your rights to refuse responding to them. Of course, this sounds easy enough, but the police may grow frustrated and try to find a reason to charge you. If this happens, remember that you have the right to remain silent–it is your RIGHT for a reason, so exercise it. This will help you avoid getting yourself into any further trouble or incriminating yourself. At this point, you should call the Law Offices of James Crawford at 443-709-9999 and get an attorney in your corner. Our attorneys have helped hundreds of people defend themselves from DUI charges and preserve their driving privileges.