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Do you have to open your window at a DUI roadblock?

DUI checkpoints or roadblocks are something of an anomaly. In most circumstances, the police are not allowed to randomly stop motorists. The police must have "reasonable suspicion" that a crime or violation of an ordinance has been committed or is about to be committed. With a sobriety roadblock, police are permitted to stop vehicles with reasonable suspicion. The U.S. Supreme Court approved this activity and so has the Indiana Supreme Court.

Law enforcement are required to follow certain procedures, designed to effectuate the purpose of the sobriety roadblock and minimize the intrusion on Fourth Amendment rights of drivers to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures.

Typically, at a sobriety checkpoint, the police will ask the driver for identification and registration and they use that time to evaluate the driver, looking for signs of intoxication or drug use.

Recently some drivers have attempted to refuse to open their window, and only show their drivers license through the closed window. Is this permissible? Or do you have to open the window and speak with the officer?

It does not appear that any Indiana court has directly addressed this question. Points of view from prosecutors and defense attorneys differ. However, by refusing to open your window, it is possible that the officer could interpret that act as creating "reasonable suspicion."

Because "reasonable suspicion" judged by a totality of the circumstances test, there may be additional factors that could provide the justification for an officer wanting a more in-depth discussion with you during a stop. The officer could be incorrect, but you would have to go to trial to vindicate your argument.

For many, the inconvenience of police detention and defending any criminal charges, valid or not, may be too much, and they find it easier to hand over the license and answer the officer's questions. For those willing to endure the criminal justice system process, the opportunity exists to create precedence that more clearly explicates the issue in Indiana.

Source: theindychannel.com, "DUI checkpoint refusals rare, police say," Kara Kenney, May 19, 201

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