A sobriety checkpoint is a roadblock set up by law enforcement to check for impaired drivers. If you are traveling a road on which officers have set up a checkpoint, you will have to stop.
According to the Maryland Highway Safety Office, you must obey officers at a sobriety checkpoint. If you fail to follow instructions, you could face further legal issues.
Legality of checkpoints
Sobriety checkpoints are legal as long as they follow guidelines set by the Supreme Court. These include that law enforcement must announce checkpoint locations using clear signage. There must also be an exit for drivers after the signage should a driver choose not to proceed through the sobriety checkpoint. The testing at checkpoints cannot be time-consuming and officers can only perform them with probable cause. They must have them in areas where there is an issue with drunk driving. There can be no indication of discrimination of any kind in the process. They cannot pull vehicles over based on the type of vehicle or what the driver looks like.
What to expect
At a sobriety checkpoint, officers may ask you questions. . Based on your responses or the officer’s observations, you may be asked to exit your vehicle for further investigation or to take field sobriety tests or a breath test.
Generally, the process will not take very long. If you perform well on the field sobriety tests or satisfy the officer that you are not impaired, the officer will let you continue on your way. However, if you perform poorly on the field sobriety tests or show other signs of impairment, then the officer may place you under arrest for driving under the influence or driving while impaired.