Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer for people in Virginia and beyond. Picture this scene: you’ve been enjoying a few beers at a friend’s cookout, and now it’s time to drive home. You’re listening to some tunes and reveling about not having to arrive at the office until Tuesday morning. Everything is smooth sailing.
Until it isn’t.
“What’s that ahead? Why are barricades there? Oh no, it’s a sobriety checkpoint…” you say to yourself.
Before you know it, you have a flashlight shining in your eyes, an officer is asking you questions about how much you’ve had to drink, and you soon find yourself in the back of a squad car on the way to the precinct. You are under arrest for driving under the influence, and this daydream has officially become a nightmare.
Think it can’t happen to you? Think again. All it takes is one drink too many and being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a DUI enforcement maneuver.
Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Virginia?
DUI checkpoints are legal in Virginia. However, despite being set up to catch drivers who may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they are not considered a police stop. Instead, they are an “administrative procedure” that meets the constitutional standard for a reasonable search and seizure.
If you find yourself at a checkpoint this Memorial Day weekend, say as little as possible and save the talking for an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Better yet, make arrangements to get home via a designated driver, public transportation, or other means that do not place you at risk of being caught in law enforcement’s web.