Three Suspicious Behaviors to Avoid at DUI Checkpoints

Posted on: 6 October 2016

Although the police have to use a neutral formula to stop cars at a DUI checkpoint, they can also stop any cars they see that give a reasonable suspicion of illegal behavior. This means that if you drive incompetently because you're drunk, recklessly enough to cause danger to other drivers, or something similar, they can still stop you even if they wouldn't have stopped you otherwise. So it's important to avoid suspicious driving behaviors. And once you've been stopped, even if you weren't driving suspiciously, your appearance and behavior during the stop can affect whether or not the police suspect you of impaired driving. So when DUI checkpoints are on the loose in your area, try to avoid these three types of suspicious behavior.  

1. Drowsy or distracted driving

Although insomnia isn't illegal, it can still kill people; drowsy driving kills an estimated fifteen hundred people per year. And, depending on how tired you are, it might be illegal for you to drive. In some areas, extreme cases of drowsy driving are considered reckless driving even if you're trying to drive carefully. This is because if your brain goes without sleep for long enough, it's not only foggier, but it also starts stealing mini-naps against your will, which can easily result in a fatal accident. And, since your brain is foggier, your driving can appear impaired to an observing officer, meaning you're also more likely to get pulled over for DUI. Distracted driving can be severely dangerous as well. You probably know better than to text or talk on the phone at a checkpoint, but be sure to avoid other distractions, such as queuing up a new playlist or inserting a new CD, as well.

2. Belligerence or nervousness

If you do get stopped at the checkpoint, behaving in a normal manner is likely to serve you best. You should speak politely and courteously, but don't be unreasonably nervous; it's just a routine checkpoint, so excessive nervousness could be perceived as either a sign of intoxication or a sign of having something else to hide (such as illegal drugs). And if you act and speak discourteously, this can also cause the officers to assume that your behavior is being affected by alcohol. 

3. Emotional reactions

If you're having an emotional breakdown in the car because you're on your way home from your grandma's funeral, you may be able to explain this to the officer, but, unfortunately, crying can also cause several suspicious "signs" that officers look for (such as puffy red eyes and a flushed face) at DUI checkpoints. If your crying fit is combined with erratic driving, the officer may be very suspicious. Try to compose yourself as much as possible before entering the checkpoint.  

These three suspicious behaviors are some of the things that police look for initially when attempting to weed out DUI suspects from the crowd. However, this article is not legal advice, so, if you are convicted of a DUI, be sure to consult with a criminal defense attorney as well.