With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, New Mexico police will no doubt increase their presence on roadways throughout the state to try to deter drunk driving. In many places, they will also set up roadblocks to stop random drivers and perform preliminary alcohol screenings. Commonly referred to as DWI checkpoints, these roadblocks are legal in this state.
Reportedly, New Mexico ranks in the top three for states with the most drunk driving fatalities. Police hope that the DWI checkpoints will help save hundreds of lives. It is possible, however, for a driver to wind up facing charges for drunk driving, even if he or she was sober at the time. In any event, it is critical to understand one’s rights and to know where to seek support if an arrest takes place.
DWI checkpoints must be publicly announced ahead of time in New Mexico
Police must follow strict regulations regarding the lawful implementation of a DWI checkpoint in New Mexico. These regulations require police to publish the dates, locations and times of planned checkpoints. Rules prohibit them from targeting specific drivers, meaning they are only allowed to stop random travelers, such as every third or fourth car.
Police cannot violate civil rights at sobriety checkpoints
A police officer might question a driver regarding the consumption of alcohol, but the Fifth Amendment protects the driver from having to answer. Police must typically obtain a validly authorized warrant to search a vehicle. Such issues may be relevant if a DWI arrest takes place at a police roadblock. To gain assistance in defending one’s rights, it is best to schedule a meeting with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after being taken into police custody.