Howard County DUI Checkpoints
It is important to know about Howard County DUI checkpoints because of how aggressively judges and prosecutors treat DUI offenses. Even on a first offense, judges and prosecutors may give individuals the benefit of the doubt, but they will impose stringent probation requirements that are often overbearing and can be economically costing. Outside of legal fees, a DUI could cost somebody thousands of dollars in court costs, supervision fees, and other costs. Furthermore, law enforcement in Howard County pay particular attention to DUI offenses because they are commonplace and the possibility of severe bodily injury is prevalent.
Contacting an experienced DUI lawyer is imperative because of the aggressive consequences a person may receive after a DUI offense.
Common Howard County DUI Checkpoints
DUI checkpoints in Howard County are very rare. There are areas that are frequented by police more than others such as Merriweather. Because of Merriweather’s concert scene, many individuals are more prone to drinking and driving, so law enforcement monitor for any drivers under the influence leaving the area. Bar areas are also more prone to have police around to check for DUIs. Something to keep in mind as well is the time when people are on the road. Very frequently, DUIs are charged or traffic stops are made between the hours of 1:00 to 3:00 AM, particularly on weekends, because that is when bars tend to close and people are most likely to leave impaired.
In addition, specific areas that police frequent are on 29th and Route 100. There are more DUI stops in bigger areas.
Sobriety Tests During a Howard County DUI Checkpoint
There are three different sub-sections of evaluation prior to arresting somebody that could happen in a DUI stop or a Howard County DUI checkpoint. There is the pre-screening, the pre-test phase. Those deal with observations of the individual. Questions during the pre-screening include:
- Does the individual have bloodshot eyes or slurred speech?
- Are they unsteady on their feet?
- Do they seem coherent?
- Is their behavior erratic?
- Do they smell alcohol?
- Did the individual admit to having drank alcohol?
- Are there open containers in the vehicle?
Any answer indicating that the person is intoxicated can lead to the officer conducting tests outside of the car. That is phase one.
The second test phase is the actual standardized field sobriety test of which there are three. There is the walk-and-turn test, there is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN), and the third is the one-legged stand. Based upon the performance on those three tests, an officer can either decide to arrest somebody at that point if they performed poorly or, in some instances, they can offer a preliminary breath test or PBT. If the person blows over 0.08 on the PBT, then the officer has probable cause to arrest somebody, to bring them back to the station, and to have them blow into a real intoxicator machine for the breath test because the PBT is not admissible in court.
Hiring a Local DUI Lawyer
There is a great benefit to hiring local counsel. A dedicated defense attorney can know the predispositions and tendencies of the prosecutors and judges. For example, some judges tend to advocate more for treatment than for harsher sentences. Others are more likely to administer interlock devices.
If an individual wants special consideration, maybe they will get an interlock installed in the car prior to showing up to court. Also, if there is jail time, some judges will allow weekend incarcerations and others will not. Only a local attorney will have the proper insight into what to expect and what can be negotiated for the best potential outcome.