Law enforcement has many different tactics that they can use to try to spot drunk drivers in Honolulu. The city increases the officers that it has on patrol during noteworthy events, hoping that they can catch drivers before they cause a serious accident.
Sobriety checkpoints are another common method that police use to curtail drunk driving. In Hawaii, it is not uncommon for motorists to encounter one of these checkpoints in a high-traffic area. Some drivers might not know what to do if they find themselves being stopped at a checkpoint, and may end up making their situation much worse. This post discusses what happens during a stop at a checkpoint, and what motorists should do in order to protect their rights.
What happens at a checkpoint
Police will notify motorists of the location of a pending checkpoint. They usually set up the roadblock for a few hours at times when there will be the highest number of impaired drivers on the roads.
Vehicles will travel through the checkpoint, and police will randomly stop certain drivers. It might be every fifth car, every other car, whatever they decide before the checkpoint is underway. They must remain consistent in carrying out the checkpoint according to these plans.
Once a driver has been stopped, the officer asks the motorist to lower his or her window. The officer is looking for signs of impairment, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol on the motorist's breath or perhaps even an open container in the car.
If any signs of impairment are observed, the driver will be asked to pull over and a more invasive search will be conducted. This may include field sobriety tests or even a search of the vehicle by drug-detecting dogs.
What you should do if you are stopped at a checkpoint
Should you find yourself stopped by police, know that your attitude will go a long way toward determining what happens during this interaction. If you are rude or fail to follow the officer's instructions, you might increase the scrutiny that you will receive. You could be asked to pull over for no reason, which could lead to a potential charge if you have committed some sort of infraction.
If police ask you to take field sobriety tests, know that you have the option of declining that request. It is likely that this refusal will lead to an arrest, but, they will have less evidence at their disposal to pursue a conviction for DUI against you.
Do not disclose any potentially incriminating information to the police if you are stopped. Even a simple yes or no to their questions could be enough to lead to serious charges. Never volunteer any information in the hopes that the stop will come to an end. You simply cannot talk your way out of trouble.