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How to behave at a DWI checkpoint

Missouri has many laws on the books to protect citizens from drunk driving. That is why Missouri is an implied consent state, which means if a person is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, then she or he has to submit to a breathalyzer test or risk having a license revoked for 12 months.

Every so often, drivers come across a DWI checkpoint where they need to submit to having a police officer quickly check the vehicle. Whether the driver has been drinking that night or not, it is important to remember how to properly behave.

Do not avoid the checkpoint

When drivers see a checkpoint up ahead, it is in their best interest to continue going forward. Trying to avoid it can look suspicious, and if an officer follows the car, then avoiding a checkpoint could constitute as probable cause to search the vehicle.

Do have documentation on-hand

It can take a few minutes to reach the front of the checkpoint. During that time, it is recommended to get license, registration and insurance information ready. The officer may not ask for it, but in the event he or she does, it is ready to go.

Do not get into lengthy conversations

A DWI checkpoint is not the time to chat. A driver could end up forfeiting information to the police officer that did not need to be brought up. Drivers are under no obligation to tell an officer whether they were drinking or how many drinks they had.

Do avoid threatening gestures

The best course of action is to keep both hands on the steering wheel while at a checkpoint. It is also recommended to avoid actions that could be seen as suspicious, such as eating a mint or lighting a cigarette. The reason a mint can look suspicious is that the officer may assume the driver is trying to alter the results of a breathalyzer test.

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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