Expect Increased DUI Enforcement around STL During the Holidays
As we enter December, law enforcement agencies all over Missouri will be looking much more aggressively for people who are operating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some police departments may set up checkpoints at higher volume locations in the state to try and catch drunk drivers. In the event that you are arrested for DUI this holiday season, your first call should be to a St. Louis DUI defense lawyer.
Your Rights at Checkpoints
Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990), was a United States Supreme Court case involving the constitutionality of police sobriety checkpoints in which the Supreme Court held 6-3 that such checkpoints met the Fourth Amendment standard of “reasonable search and seizure.” When people see checkpoints on the horizon, there may be an urge to turn around to avoid the checkpoint.
There is nothing illegal about turning around to avoid a checkpoint, but people should be aware that police officers stationed near the checkpoint could notice people performing U-turns to avoid encounters and then have police officers tail the cars turning around. In these cases, attempts to evade a checkpoint create a presumption that a driver may be intoxicated.
Police departments in Missouri that are operating checkpoints typically need to stop vehicles in some kind of discernible pattern, such as every fifth vehicle. When a driver appears to be under the influence, the officers may ask an alleged offender to complete field sobriety tests.
Missouri DWI laws deal not only with criminal violations of state drunk driving laws, but also administrative concerns. People can face suspensions or revocations of driving privileges when they do not comply with law enforcement officer requests to submit to blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) tests.
People have no obligation to perform field sobriety tests, and such tests are more often used by police officers to argue that alleged offenders were displaying signs of intoxication. People can fail field sobriety tests for many other reasons besides intoxication.
The three tests the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has sanctioned include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one-leg stand test, and the walk-and-turn test. When police officers perform other field sobriety tests, such as the Romberg balance test, the finger-to-nose test, the finger-count test, the ABC test, or the numbers backward test, those test results may not be admissible in court and the evidence can be suppressed.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a St. Louis DUI Defense Lawyer
If you are arrested for an alleged DWI offense anywhere in the greater St. Louis area this holiday season, do not wait to get yourself legal representation for help fighting the criminal charges. Bruntrager & Billings, P.C. defends people accused of DWI in communities throughout Missouri.
Our firm is actively involved with the Missouri Bar Association, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Missouri Municipal League. You can call (314) 646-0066 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with our St. Louis DUI defense lawyer.