Can the Police Randomly Stop You in Arizona?

can the police randomly stop youMost people are offended by random police pull-overs while performed in the midst of commuting to and from work, holiday travel and so on.  One would think these random stops are completely illegal considering the fact that there is no probable cause to pull over the driver in the first place.  However, according to state law, Arizona police really can stop Arizona drivers without probable cause.

Why Stops Without Probable Cause are Allowed

The logic in allowing the random stopping of drivers is to enforce laws against driving while inebriated.  The vast majority of Arizona’s random pull-overs are conducted in the form of sobriety checkpoints to nab drunk drivers.  Such checkpoints, also referred to as roadblocks, are perfectly legal traffic stops that do not tie into any certain suspicious activity.

At this point, most readers are likely wondering why probable cause is not applicable to these random stops.  Police officers do not require probable cause prior to stopping a driver at a sobriety checkpoint.  Though probable cause is necessary for regular traffic stops, the United State Supreme Court has decided sobriety checkpoints are perfectly legal as the negative ramifications of a drunk driving accident significantly outweigh the level of intrusion at sobriety checkpoints.  As a result, Arizona police are empowered to perform random sobriety checkpoints as an exception to the United States Constitution’s search and seizure provisions.

What to do at a DUI Checkpoint

If you are pulled over at a DUI checkpoint, do not panic even if you have had a few to drink.  Remain calm and collected.  You will make it through this stop without unnecessary drama if you are cordial throughout the interaction.  You might be asked to provide your registration and driver’s license.  This is a legal request so do not put up a fight.  The police officer will closely observe your behavior as well as the behavior of the riders in the vehicle when requesting your identification.  This is not a time to joke around.  Say as little as possible, be friendly and show the police officer some respect.  Keep in mind, police officers are more than willing to slap a disorderly conduct charge on an individual who refuses to comply with his or her instructions.

It is up to you whether you would like to take the field sobriety test.  There are different lines of thought as to whether it is prudent for an inebriated driver to take the sobriety field test at a DUI checkpoint.  Regardless of what decision you make, you should remain respectful at all times.  Do not give the police officer a reason to arrest you or treat you improperly.

Random Pull-overs are Governed by Rules

Countless protests have popped up against sobriety checkpoints as they violate the constitutional rights of United States citizens.  However, it appears as though little, if anything, can be done about Arizona’s random pull-overs.  Police must abide by specific rules in order to legally perform random pull-overs in an attempt to nab drunk drivers.

All Arizona DUI checkpoints must be initially approved by the state’s department of transportation.  Furthermore, the checkpoints must be made public.  If no public information is available pertaining to the DUI checkpoint, it is an illegal stop.  Furthermore, police officers conducting pull-overs are not permitted to select any old driver.  There has to be some logic to the checkpoint with a specific methodology.  As an example, a police offer manning a sobriety checkpoint who pulls over every other driver or every third driver is relying on a suitable methodology.

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