Thursday, November 28, 2013

DUI Checkpoints in Las Vegas

The LVMPD sets up sobriety checkpoints throughout the valley during the holiday season in an effort to catch drunk drivers. DUI checkpoints are unique because they are the exception to the probable cause rule. Although law enforcement officers normally must have probable cause to stop drivers and test them for intoxication, probable cause is not required at sobriety checkpoints, also known as roadblocks. If a person is arrested for drunk driving after being stopped at a checkpoint, their charges could be ruled invalid if the officers did not follow a set of strict guidelines.

Nevada law requires that:
  • Checkpoints are set up on a highway where they are clearly visible to oncoming traffic from at least 100 yards away.
  • Officers set up a sign with the word “Stop” near the center divider of the highway, and the letters must be big enough and bright enough to be read at least 50 yards away.
  • There is at least one flashing red light set up near the checkpoint, and it must be visible to oncoming traffic from at least 100 yards away.
  • Warning signs are set up on the side of the highway at least a quarter mile from the checkpoint so that oncoming drivers are notified that a roadblock is up ahead. The signs should be big enough and bright enough to be read by drivers and there should be bright or flashing lights around them to attract attention.

In the event that you are driving during the holidays and see warning signs for a roadblock up ahead, you are allowed to take any available legal detours to avoid going through the checkpoint. For example, you can turn onto a side street to avoid the checkpoint, but you cannot make a sudden U-turn into oncoming traffic to avoid it.

If you were arrested for drunk driving at a checkpoint in the Las Vegas area, it’s important that you retain knowledgeable legal counsel right away. Your attorney can determine if law enforcement followed all requirements for the roadblock and may b
e able to get your charges dropped if they did not.

De Castroverde Law Group fights drunk driving charges for clients throughout Clark County, NV. Visit the DUI Defense section on our website to learn more about your rights and options.