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Expect sobriety checkpoints this Memorial Day weekend

With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, it's important to be aware of stepped-up DUI enforcement. In particular, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting several sobriety checkpoints throughout Chattanooga from Friday, May 25th through Monday, May 28th.

Whether you are a Chattanooga local or just visiting for the holiday, knowing where you may encounter police can help to avoid unexpected surprises.

Locations of sobriety checkpoints

Drivers can expect to see DUI checkpoints in Hamilton County on Rossville Boulevard, Meigs County on Highway 58 at Lamontville Road and Franklin County on US 41A at Arnold Farm Road. In addition, there will also be a driver's license checkpoint in Polk County on Highway 411 at Grove Road.

What are my rights if I'm stopped?

Remaining calm when an officer stops you and approaches your car window isn't easy. But understanding your rights helps a lot in these nervous situations.

. What are your rights?

•· Right to remain silent - You can politely refuse to answer any questions. Cops may pressure you into speaking and ask questions such as, "Are you not speaking because you have something to hide?" or, "If you just answer my questions, you'll be free to go." Anything you say can be used against you and you are still cooperating by not saying anything.

•· Field sobriety tests - You have the right to refuse to submit to a standard field sobriety test (SFST). Tennessee law doesn't require that drivers consent to a SFST. It's true that, under the implied consent law, there are can be consequences (in the form of license suspension) for refusing to submit to a blood or breath test. But that is not the case for field sobriety tests.

•· Unreasonable searches or seizures - Unless an officer has probable cause or a warrant, you are under no obligation to allow a cop to search your person or vehicle. You can simply say something along the lines of, "I do not consent to any searches or any seizures," and then reaffirm your right to remain silent.

If you are charged

If you are subject to a sobriety checkpoint, data has shown that the likelihood of a driver being charged with DUI is slim. In 2016, only .21 percent of drivers who were stopped were arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

If you are charged, however, a defense attorney can protect your rights and help you resolve the situation effectively.

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