The most wonderful time of the year for many Virginia residents entails celebration and merriment. Whether you are driving home from the office holiday party or after enjoying egg nog at a friend’s home, you might encounter a sobriety checkpoint at some time during the next few weeks. This is not unusual during the holiday season, when drinking is heavier than usual.

Sobriety checkpoints are utilized in many states to assist law enforcement in curtailing drunk driving, explains FindLaw. What exactly is a DUI checkpoint, you might wonder? Unlike a normal traffic stop, where an officer needs to have a reason to pull you over, drivers are randomly stopped at checkpoints and subjected to sobriety tests.

If you are stopped at a checkpoint, you might be asked to perform a field sobriety test, which involves checking your balance and mobility by having you perform numerous actions, like standing on one foot and walking in a straight line. You might be sober, yet you could fail a field sobriety test if you have difficulty balancing or a medical condition that affects your speech or mobility.

Checkpoints are a topic of contention for many who believe they violate the privacy rights of sober drivers and put people at risk of a false arrest. Even so, these checkpoints are legal in Virginia and many other states. Since this topic is complex, it should not substitute for experienced legal advice. It is recommended to seek legal counsel when you are facing drunk driving charges.