DUI Checkpoints and heightened enforcement are not uncommon in South Carolina around the holidays, and with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year celebrations on the horizon, local police departments throughout the state will be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers throughout 2020.
At the David W. Martin Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys in Fort Mill understand that just because the Coronavirus is still very much a factor, and holiday gatherings may look very different this year, law enforcement officials are still operating with public safety in mind.
That could mean heightened DUI enforcement and even DUI checkpoints popping up throughout York County through the new year.
Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in South Carolina?
South Carolina law enforcement officials may briefly stop drivers at a checkpoint or a roadblock for limited purposes.
They include verifying the legality of the vehicle’s operation by requesting proof of and validating the driver’s:
- Vehicle registration
- Proof of insurance
The police may also set up checkpoints to detect drunk drivers.
While each of our Greenville County residents is protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing all persons have rights that shall not be violated by unreasonable searches and seizures, the United States Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of using a brief stop to check licenses or to detect drunk drivers.
To operate under the law, South Carolina DUI checkpoints must meet some basic requirements, including:
- A valid reason for the checkpoint’s location, which may include increased DUI rates in a certain area
- Supervisory approval that includes a managing, uniformed law enforcement official establishing a checkpoint and overseeing the site and procedures for its operation
- Publicly broadcasting the checkpoint’s existence and location
- Stopping vehicles in a predictable pattern in a safe and identifiable location
Finally, the DUI checkpoint stop must be brief, and the solicitor’s office must show evidence that its operation served the public’s interest.
If the DUI checkpoint that led to your arrest violated any of these requirements or your rights during the stop, we will identify those illegalities while defending your case to pursue the best outcome for your arrest.
What Should I Do if I Am Stopped at a DUI Checkpoint in South Carolina?
First, remain calm and cooperate with law enforcement’s request to see your license and registration.
Keep in mind, you do not have to answer any questions that may incriminate you, or that go beyond giving the law enforcement official your name and the documents he or she requested.
Cooperating also does not mean you must perform a field sobriety test.
As we discussed last month, even if you politely decline to perform the requested field tests — including taking a breathalyzer — you very well may be arrested for DUI anyway. It is important to contact an experienced DUI attorney in South Carolina who will defend your rights inside and outside the courtroom.
Contact our skilled Fort Mill & Greenville DUI attorney at the David W. Martin Law Group by calling (803) 548-2468 today to schedule a free consultation to review your case and discuss how we may defend your case to pursue the best outcome available for your unique circumstances.