The trouble you can get into by avoiding New York DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while impaired) depends on how you avoid the checkpoint. A DWI attorney can advise you about your rights if arrested and the best strategy for your defense.
There are no written guidelines for setting up checkpoints in New York. Generally, the reason for check points are so law enforcement can stop cars and observe whether the driver appears intoxicated. Officers may stop every car, every other car, every third car or however they decide to conduct the stops. Checkpoints are often temporary, set up on holiday weekends or holidays when drunk driving has proved to be an issue in the past.
If approaching a checkpoint, you are within your legal rights to turn off on another highway before reaching the checkpoint. Authorities cannot follow you and pull you over for avoiding a checkpoint in this manner.
The police have the legal right to investigate you if you avoid a checkpoint by turning into a parking lot. In the case People v. Chaffee, a state trooper conducting a sobriety checkpoint noticed that a car quickly stopped and turned into a motel parking lot. Instead of immediately pulling into a parking space, the car circled the parking lot a few times and only pulled into a parking space when the officer turned on the police car’s warning lights. Such behavior seemed suspicious and the officer detained the driver at that point. The court allowed the stop as a legal investigatory measure and the outcome of the case resulted in a felony DWI conviction. This case set a precedent for sobriety checkpoints and permissible stops for checkpoint avoidance when pulling into parking lots, which is now case law.
Many legal strategies exist to protect a defendant’s rights in a DWI or DUI case. If arrested for drunk driving, contact a Westchester DWI attorney to discuss your legal options.