During the New Year weekend, the Tennessee Highway Patrol conducted a “no refusal” safety campaign. The campaign allowed troopers to call a judge on the phone to obtain a warrant for a blood test for any drivers who refused a breath test after being stopped for suspicion of DUI. The THP set up sobriety and seatbelt checkpoints around certain areas of the eight participating counties:
According to ABC News, 68 arrests were made between 12:01am on December, 31, 2014 and 11:59PM on January 4, 2015. There were no fatal car crashes during this time, an improvement on last year when there were 16 fatalities – 6 of which involved an impaired driver.
What you should know about sobriety checkpoints in Tennessee
The state is allowed under federal law to set up sobriety checkpoints; Tennessee performs them once or twice a month. But the state must also publish a list of its checkpoints, complete with dates and locations, as per federal law.
Police officers may also attempt to use a sobriety checkpoint as a way to search your car. Under the law, you are not required to let a police officer search your vehicle unless he or she has a warrant to do so. Suspicion of DUI is not probable cause to search a vehicle.
It is also perfectly legal for you to leave an area with a DUI checkpoint, so long as you do not break any laws while doing so. Thus, if you see that there is a checkpoint ahead, and you are able to make a legal U-turn and drive away, you are within your rights to do it. The cops have no legal recourse to pursue you. If, however, you cross a double line illegally, or make a U-turn in a place that specifically forbids it, the cops may send an officer to pull you over. If you go through the checkpoint and are asked to pull over, you must do so.
The laws in Tennessee regarding DUI checkpoints and stops can be difficult to understand. At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we can clear up any misconceptions you might have. We answer our phones day and night, and will visit clients who are being held in local jails. Our dedicated team can help you when you are facing a DUI or any criminal charge. For more information, please contact our office today.