In recent news, drivers across the nation have attempted to avoid interaction with law enforcement at road checkpoints by holding up to the window a pre-printed sign invoking the right to remain silent and an attorney, in addition to the required licensing paperwork. While this novel idea may work occasionally, or in some states, residents of Arizona should know that while aggravating and intrusive, DUI checkpoints in general are legal however any particular checkpoint can be challenged in court. Even so, keep in mind what is required of the driver is quite limited.
Both the United States and Arizona Constitutions provide that we have a right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and that no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause. However, courts have held that drivers can be stopped at checkpoints and be subjected to very limited checks for sobriety. The courts have also held that to be constitutionally legal, and the police must conduct the checkpoints using very specific procedures. If the police do not strictly follow those procedures for the checkpoints, then any arrests which result from the checkpoints can be dismissed in court.
Most states operate sobriety checkpoints under the guidance of the National Highway Safety Transportation Board guidelines, however that is not a guarantee a court will say that a particular checkpoint was conducted legally. States other than Arizona have chosen to proactively make sobriety checkpoints illegal, which is their right.
What is most important for an Arizona driver to remember is, if you are stopped at a checkpoint you are required to provide the officer your license, insurance and registration, but are not required to provide anything else. Do not answer incriminating questions, ever. Whether a checkpoint was legally conducted, or not, is something that a competent and knowledgeable Phoenix DUI attorney can challenge in court.