Auto Accident

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DUI Checkpoints ...Could This Be You?




DUI checkpoints are the only exception to the freedoms granted to U.S. citizens by the constitution. The U.S. Constitution states that the government and police need ''probable cause'' to detain any citizen for questioning except in the case of DUI checkpoints. Just because you are out driving, they can detain you and question you without probable cause. Is this a lawful/fair practice?

Read this scenario and ask yourself if this could be you?

Your good friend just moved into a new home a few blocks away from where you live. It's going to be fun living so close to such a good friend. They invite you over for a welcoming dinner get together Friday night. You attend and there are a couple of other people there that you know. You arrive around 7:30 PM and are offered a social glass of wine. You accept to be polite and hold the wine without really drinking much, maybe 2 or 3 sips socially.

Dinner is served around 8:15 PM and you sit down to a nice dinner with a group of old friends. At dinner you enjoy 1 full glass of wine and relax into some good conversation. After dinner everyone moves into the living room where you sit and discuss an upcoming event that you all are excited about. As you all talk the host brings you another glass of wine. You realize that you need to drive home so you don't really drink the wine but just hold it to be social. You end up taking another 2 or 3 sips maximum. You say your good-bye's around 9:15 PM and head home.

You only live a few blocks away but as you drive you see something strange in the distance. You see a series of bright lights ahead and a bunch of cones spread out along the road. As you continue to drive the cones get closer and closer together forming a funnel that limits access to the road forcing you to drive directly towards the bright flashing lights. Your eyes were already adjusted to the dark night and the upcoming bright lights are disorienting you a bit as you drive towards them. The combination of the cones re-directing the traffic pattern along with the bright lights makes you unsure of exactly where you're supposed to drive on the road.

As you get closer to these bright lights you see a large group of people standing along side the road, some carrying signs. You start wondering what all of these people are doing standing on the side of the road and you try to read some of the signs as you approach. This distracts you from the bright lights for a second because it's such an odd thing to see. As your attention returns to the bright lights your eyes are struggling between dilating for the darkness and adjusting to the brightness. Your heart rate has started to increase in response to all of the confusing stimuli.

As you pull up to where the road is blocked an angry police officer begins yelling for you to roll your window down and shut off your car. Unsure why he is so upset you roll your window down and try to calm yourself. As your window comes down he sticks a bright high powered mag light into your car and shines it right on your face. He immediately begins interrogating you with questions like, ''Where are you coming from?'' ''Where are you going?'' ''How much have you had to drink tonight!''

Still unsure as to why he's so angry you to try to answer but your heart is now pounding so fast and you're beginning to perspire excessively because of the intimidating scene in front of you. You hesitate, and then nervously answer his questions and honestly state that you had 1 glass of wine tonight.

The officer barks, ''Why did you have to think about how much you had to drink, you're not sure are you?'' With your response you simply state that you just hadn't thought about it before he asked.

He then asks you to step out of your car and perform a series of strange exercises in front of this large group of people who has now begun to yell at you. You are made to stand on one foot and count, then a pen is waved in front of your face followed by the police officer demanding that you blow into this little device he pulled from his squad car. You remember something about not having to do anything without speaking to a lawyer first and you ask the police officer about this. He fires back that you are afraid to blow because you know you are guilty and have drank excessively. He tells you that you'll be in big trouble if you don't blow into the machine. Unsure of what you are supposed to do or what your rights are, you do as the officer demands.

Your heart is literally pounding and you feel the sweat dripping from your forehead as you think about what is happening. Still unsure of what your rights are in this situation you decide that the best thing to do is answer all of the police officer's questions and do as your told.

After another series of questions he writes what seems like a paragraph on some type of report and then informs you that you are being arrested for suspicion of DUI. You are handcuffed and put in the back of the police car while the group of people standing off to the side cheer.

In his police report he notes that you smelled like alcohol, admitted to drinking alcohol, were perspiring excessively, swerved while approaching the checkpoint, and appeared ''disoriented'' and ''nervous.'' He also notes that you failed all field sobriety tests.

Could this be you?

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