Last weekend, Howard County police and Maryland State Police conducted a sobriety checkpoint in North Laurel. According to reports, 537 drivers on U.S. Route 1 passed through the DUI checkpoint. Three of those people are now facing drunk driving charges.
Drunk driving checkpoints are a common police tactic for catching intoxicated drivers. If you pass through one and have had even a little to drink, police will not hesitate to arrest you. Fortunately, there are ways to challenge DUI charges.
First of all, it's important to remember that not everyone who is accused of driving under the influence is guilty. Police have to present solid evidence that a person was intoxicated in order for a conviction to happen, but they do not always succeed. There are several reasons a DUI charge could be thrown out.
First, police may have incorrectly administered a field sobriety test. These tests usually involve a police officer asking a driver to perform several tasks, such as standing on one foot or walking in a straight line. However, there are many external factors that can affect the outcome of these tests. If police administered the test on a hill or did not provide clear instructions, the results of the test could be deemed inaccurate.
Another potential hole in police evidence could stem from a breath test. Breath test machines must be properly calibrated before being used to determine a person's blood alcohol concentration. There have been several instances in which police departments discovered that their breath tests were not properly calibrated or were otherwise malfunctioning. If this is the case, breath test results may be inadmissible in court.
Being accused of drunk driving is frightening and overwhelming, so it's important to keep in mind that a charge is not a conviction. An experienced DUI attorney can help explain your options and help you build a defense.
Source: Columbia Patch, "Five Arrests Made at North Laurel DUI Checkpoint," John Davisson, March 4, 2013