What are OUI checkpoints?

Many OUI arrests in Massachusetts begin after a driver is stopped at an OUI checkpoint. These prearranged events occur across Massachusetts, at any time of year. A checkpoint may be set up on major roadways or streets anywhere in the Commonwealth where a high number of OUI drivers have been found. 

Sign that says sobriety checkpoint ahead

Law enforcement and OUI checkpoints

Law enforcement personnel from local police departments participate in sobriety checkpoints. These checkpoints must be managed properly and allow for the safe direction of traffic into the checkpoint. As a vehicle approaches the checkpoint, the officers will observe how the driver is operating the vehicle, wave them into the checkpoint, and take notice of the driver’s reaction to being pulled over. At the initial stop, a law enforcement officer will speak with the driver, while looking for signs of alcohol or drug intoxication, such as the smell of alcohol, open alcohol containers, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or other symptoms.

Depending on the observations of law enforcement, a driver could be asked to move to a secondary area, where they will be directed to perform roadside sobriety tests and be questioned about the consumption of alcohol or drugs. After testing, the driver may be charged with drunk driving. 

The requirements of law enforcement in roadside checkpoints

Law enforcement agencies must follow stringent protocols in preparing for, setting up and enforcing OUI/DUI checkpoints. The police involved must ensure that a checkpoint is:

  • Located in an area with high numbers of OUI offenses.
  • Placed in a location that is well-lit and properly marked.
  • Operated in a manner that does not cause undue delay to drivers.
  • Managed by a qualified supervisor.

The goal in these standards is to ensure safety of both vehicle drivers and the police officers and to limit any inconvenience, under state law Commonwealth v. McGeoghegan, 389 Mass. 173, 143 (183).

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Suspicion of OUI

If the police officers observe the symptoms of alcohol or drug intoxication, the driver will be directed to a secondary area. A driver may feel obligated to answer questions posed by law enforcement. While you are required to provide your driver’s license and registration to the officers, you also have the right to an attorney before answering questions. You are not legally required to perform the roadside tests, which include:

You have the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests or roadside breath testing. However, if you refuse a breathalyzer test at the police station, your driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days. If you have a prior conviction for an OUI offense, your license will be revoked for 3 years. You have 15 days to appeal the license suspension. 

Gilman Law – leading driver’s license suspension firm in Massachusetts

At Gilman Law, we offer payment plans, flat fees for many services, and is one of the largest driver’s license suspension firms in the state. Our legal team manages every detail after an arrest and charge for OUI at a roadside checkpoint, from the criminal defense to dealing with the RMV for driver’s license reinstatement. Our founder, Matthew Gilman, formerly worked at the RMV as a Hearing Officer, and has an inside view of the system, and how to navigate it successfully. Our attorneys and staff work hard, respect our clients, and speak with them honestly. We do not drag out the legal process with hourly billing to make more money – we have integrity.

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Arrested and charged with OUI at a sobriety checkpoint?

If you were arrested and charged with operating under the influence following a sobriety checkpoint stop, contact our team today to start planning your defense. You have rights and you need a team on your side to help you fight for your right to drive. Get back on the road with a OUI Defense and License Suspension Law Firm on your side.

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