North Carolina drivers should be aware that they could encounter a DWI checkpoint when driving. These DWI checkpoints may appear particularly around holidays or near areas such as bars or restaurants where a larger number of potentially impaired drivers may be found. North Carolina DWI checkpoint laws set out specific guidelines for officers who set up and maintain these checkpoints. If you faced with a DWI in North Carolina following a DWI checkpoint or to better educate yourself in the event you are stopped at a DWI checkpoint while on the road, it can be helpful to have some background knowledge to understand these highway situations. North Carolina criminal lawyers are of considerable help when determining your next steps following a DWI in North Carolina.
A North Carolina statute explains the rules the police officers must follow when setting up a DWI
checkpoint. The officers involved in the checkpoint must have a predetermined plan that will designate their pattern for stopping cars as they pass through the DWI checkpoint. Having this plan means none of the officers may use their own discretion as to which vehicle is stopped or targeted in particular. In addition, it must be made clear to the public that an authorized checkpoint station is currently occurring. The checkpoint should be in a location where a high number of arrests for a DWI in North Carolina have been made before. All of these rules apply to checkpoints in Wake County as well as all North Carolina highways.
Once a driver enters a checkpoint, the police officers must apply their pre-determined DWI checkpoint plan to all of the vehicles passing through the checkpoint. If an officer decides there is a reasonable suspicion that a driver may be impaired or in violation of other laws, the officer can further stop the driver to ask more questions. As the driver of a vehicle in North Carolina, if you are questioned further, you may be asked to take an alcohol screening test if the officer determines that you have consumed alcohol or if there is an open container of alcohol in your vehicle. You may refuse, but the officer is allowed to use your refusal as a reason to investigate further.
If you have been arrested for a DWI in North Carolina, your next steps could be confusing, particularly if your arrest was from a DWI checkpoint. The legality around checkpoints can be confusing and sometimes even controversial if the checkpoint was not set up or operated correctly. Consulting with experienced attorneys for help in defending your checkpoint DWI in North Carolina will help to explore all outcomes of your case.