DUI checkpoints, also known as sobriety checkpoints or roadblocks, are legal in Tennessee. These checkpoints are traffic stops set up by law enforcement to detect intoxicated drivers and deter such behavior to keep the roads safe. The checkpoint locations are determined at random and are only temporary.
During a DUI checkpoint, motorists are briefly detained and interviewed. Drivers who are deemed suspicious are subject to sobriety tests.
Whether or not you have been drinking, driving through a sobriety checkpoint can be a nerve-racking encounter. But if you understand your rights and know what to expect, you can avoid getting into trouble altogether.
If you should ever encounter a sobriety checkpoint in the Volunteer State, be sure to keep the following in mind:
- You are not required to enter a DUI checkpoint – If you are able to legally turn around prior to reaching the entrance line, then you are free to do so.
- You are not required to answer any questions – All you need to do is hand over your license, registration, and insurance information. It is best to have these documents ready to avoid attempting to find them as soon as the officer requests them. Other than that, you do not need to provide any additional information.
- You don't have to take the field sobriety tests – If the police suspect you of drunk driving, they may ask you to step out of your car and perform a few tests. You may politely decline to participate.
- You don't let them search your vehicle – Police need probable cause to search your vehicle. If they do not have probable cause, they must obtain either a warrant approved by the judge or permission to conduct a search. Do not voluntarily give them permission to search your vehicle.
Law enforcement in Tennessee must provide a list of upcoming checkpoint enforcement location, along with the dates, which enables motorists to avoid them altogether. Failure to provide proper notice of a sobriety checkpoint is considered illegal.