Operating under the influence (OUI) roadblocks are a popular tool used by Massachusetts police departments in order to catch individuals who are drinking and driving. Typically set up near restaurants and bars, Massachusetts OUI roadblocks are often conducted between the hours of 11 p.m. and 3 a.m., when most drunk-driving incidents occur. If you were arrested and charged with impaired driving after being pulled over at an OUI roadblock, you should immediately contact an experienced defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
Because there has been particular concern over the constitutionality of OUI roadblocks, the U.S. Supreme Court has developed stringent guidelines that must be followed by law enforcement agencies. If these guidelines are not followed to the letter, there is a good chance that the charges against you may be dismissed due to the violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.
The decision to conduct an OUI roadblock must come from the superior officers at a police department in advance. The location and time of the roadblock must be determined by a high incident of alcohol-related arrests and /or accidents in the area, which is why so many are held on the roadways to and from drinking establishments. The roadblock must also be publicized in advance in an effort to deter people from drinking and driving.
The roadblock must be highly visible to oncoming traffic through the use of flashing lights and signs as well as a heavy police presence. A set pattern must be used while stopping vehicles, which means every vehicle, every fourth vehicle, etc.
If you are stopped at a Massachusetts OUI roadblock, you are only required to answer questions regarding your identity, address, and insurance. While the officer may ask where you are coming from or how much you had to drink, you are not required to answer. If the officer believes that you are intoxicated, you may be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. If you fail these tests, the officer may request that you take a breathalyzer test.
You can fight your charges if you were arrested after going through an OUI roadblock.