As a CDL operator who navigates Texas roadways, there are certain regulations to which you must adhere that are not relevant to a non-CDL driver. For instance, some drivers who carry a regular driver’s license do not have to pull over and rest after so many consecutive hours behind the wheel, which is what tractor-trailer drivers must do. The laws regarding intoxication differ for commercial drivers, as well. You will want to be aware of those laws and your own rights if a police officer stops you at a DUI checkpoint.
A DUI checkpoint is a station set up by police officers on a roadway, where they stop drivers to assess them for possible intoxication. Under normal circumstances, a police officer must have reasonable cause to make a traffic stop. This makes DUI checkpoints a subject of debate. Because police are randomly choosing vehicles to stop, the stop is not being made because a particular officer witnessed a specific driver doing something wrong, such as speeding or veering over the yellow line.
Most Texas judges believe that DUI checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment
Many states allow police officers to conduct DUI checkpoints. In this state, there are no official bans against them. However, many Texas courts have ruled that stopping motorists in this way is a violation of their rights against unlawful searches and seizures. If an officer waves you down to stop you at a DUI checkpoint, he or she might also ask you to get out of your car.
You do not have to take a field sobriety test
Whether during a DUI checkpoint stop or a regular traffic stop, you are not obligated to take a walk-and-turn test or any other field sobriety test or roadside breath test. You can simply decline if a police officer asks you to take one. There are no penalties for refusing.
If your blood alcohol content level is tested
As a Texas CDL operator, you are considered legally intoxicated behind the wheel if your blood alcohol content level is .04 or higher. You may already be aware of the fact that this percentage is half of the legal level for a non-CDL driver. If you agree to take a field sobriety test during a DUI checkpoint stop, and the officer issues a failing score, you may be arrested and required to take a chemical test.
If the results of that test show that your bloodstream contains enough alcohol to legally prohibit you from driving, your CDL license may be immediately at risk.