Halloween often tends to be one of the wilder nights of the year. The fact that it takes place on a Friday this year, when many do not have to worry about making it to work the next days, virtually guarantees this year will be bigger than usual. This fact has surely not escaped the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and they are very likely to be out in force patrolling the streets for any alleged violation of the law.
Halloween arrests can run a wide gamut of offenses. Common arrests are for drug charges, marijuana offenses, public lewdness and any other charge common associated with revelry.
DUI is also an extremely common charge on Halloween night. While Metro Police have not announced plans yet, but it is extremely common for police to set up DUI checkpoints on Halloween. At a DUI checkpoint, drivers are asked to submit to breath tests, blood tests or field sobriety tests. Regardless of whether checkpoints are created, police will be patrolling the streets for intoxicated drivers.
It is your constitutional right to refuse to take these tests, and doing so denies prosecutors critical evidence against you. Recently the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that Nevada’s Implied Consent law is unconstitutional. This means that if you are arrested for DUI you are not required to give an evidentiary sample of blood or breath, unless the officer gets a warrant. It is recommended that you do not provide consent to a breath or a blood test as this will be used against you by the prosecution.
A driver can be forcibly required to submit to a test if police obtain a warrant. Checkpoints on such a major holiday are likely to have judges on site, ready to sign warrants, as well as nurses and paramedics to take blood tests. It is still recommended that you do not voluntary consent to a blood or breath test, unless the police have a warrant.
If police collect a sample at a checkpoint from you that shows a blood-alcohol content (BAC) at or above .08, it does not mean you are automatically convicted. Nevada Revised Statutes 484B.570 has multiple requirements for roadblocks. A sobriety checkpoint must:
- Be at a location on the highway visible from at least 100 yards away in both directions;
- Have a stop sign visible from at least 50 yards in both directions;
- Have a flashing light visible from at least 100 yards to oncoming traffic;
- Have “police stop” warning signs placed at least a quarter of a mile away; and
- Have a flare, light or lantern near the “police stop” warning signs.
If police fail to maintain these standards for checkpoints, any arrest that resulted in a stop may be thrown out entirely. Your lawyer can challenge the arrest and file a motion to suppress the arrest. A Las Vegas DUI attorney can also challenge the results of any test.
In all likelihood, this will be a big night for Halloween partiers, and a big night for Las Vegas police. Make sure you know your rights before you head out.