DUI checkpoints, also known as sobriety checkpoints or roadblocks, are considered legal in Nevada. Reno police routinely set up such checkpoints to detain suspected drunk drivers and deter intoxicated driving in general.
When an individual drives into a sobriety checkpoint, law enforcement will stop the driver and ask some questions to determine if they have been drinking alcohol recently. If the driver appears sober, police will allow him/her to continue through the checkpoint. But if the officers reasonably suspect that the driver is intoxicated, he/she will be directed to a nearby area to perform tests.
Common examples of intoxicated behavior include:
- Erratic driving
- Bloodshot or glossy eyes
- Order of alcohol on the driver’s breath or emanating from the vehicle
- Slurred speech
- Open or empty alcohol containers
Law enforcement may request the driver to take either a series of field sobriety tests (FSTs) or a preliminary breath test (FSTs). Based on the results of these tests, the driver may be arrested for DUI.
In order for a DUI checkpoint to be legally valid, police need to follow the following four rules:
- The checkpoint needs to be seen from at least 100 yards away
- A “stop” sign needs to be positioned near the highway’s centerline and a driver can read it 50 yards away
- From at least 100 yards away, drivers can see a flashing red light
- Warning signs at the side of the highway must be positioned at least a quarter-mile from the checkpoint
If law enforcement fails to adhere to these rules, the defendant’s DUI charges may be dismissed or reduced.
If a driver notices warning signs of an upcoming sobriety checkpoint, the driver can take any legal detour before reaching the checkpoint. However, the driver cannot make an illegal U-turn or an improper term to evade the roadblock.
As soon as a driver encounters at a roadblock, they are required to stop, answer the officers’ questions, and adhere to their requests. Traveling through a DUI checkpoint in Nevada without stopping is a gross misdemeanor, which carries by a maximum one-year jail term and a fine of up to $2,000. If illegally driving through a checkpoint causes property damage, significant injury or death, it is considered a category B felony which carries a maximum six-year prison term s and a fine not exceeding $5,000.
If you have been charged with DUI at a checkpoint in Nevada, contact the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Stover and speak with our Reno criminal defense attorney today.