The 4th Amendment has been weakened significantly over the years in an effort to allow the use of roadblocks as a law enforcement tool. Fortunately, you still have rights should you choose to exercise them.
When citizens are faced with roadblocks, they may politely refuse to answer any of the officer’s questions. To make this more easy to do, you can follow this script to assert your rights*:
I refuse to talk to you until I consult with my attorney. I also refuse to consent to any search of these premises or any other premises under my control, or in which I have a possessory, proprietary, or privacy interest, including my car, my body, or effects. I hereby demand to immediately be allowed the reasonable opportunity to obtain the advice of my attorney by telephone.
I desire to exercise all my rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this state, to be free from your interference with my person or affairs.
If you attempt to question me, I want my lawyer present. I refuse to participate in any line-up or to perform any physical acts, or to speak or display my person or property at your direction, without first conferring with my lawyer.
If I am under arrest, I wish to invoke and exercise my Miranda rights. If you ignore my exercise of these rights and attempt to procure a waiver, I want to confer with my lawyer prior to any conversations with you.
If I am to be taken into custody, removed from my present location, or separated from my property, I request a reasonable opportunity to make arrangements to secure my own property. I do not consent to any impoundment or inventory of my property. I do, hereby, waive any claim of liability for loss, theft, or damage against you, your superiors or any other authority, and agree to hold all harmless therefrom, if I am afforded the reasonable opportunity to arrange for the safekeeping of my own property. If this reasonable opportunity is denied or is unavailable, I demand that only such intrusion occur as is minimally necessary to secure such property, hereby waiving any claim of liability for your failure to scrutinize the property or its contents prior to it being secured.
If I am not under arrest, I want to leave. If I am free to leave, please tell me immediately so that I may go about my business.
Roadblocks can be stressful to deal with and many people, initially intending to stand up for themselves, will bypass the opportunity if they are required to actually speak to the officer.
In order to make it easier for the average driver, we’ve put together a version of this assertion of rights for you to print out and put in your glove compartment or wallet.
If you come across a roadblock, simply hand the officer your driver’s license and this sheet of paper asserting your rights:
Wallet Size (fold it in half)
Download It (PDF)
Download It (PDF)
* It’s important to note that in the DUI/DWI context, the right to counsel does not attach until “after” the decision on whether to submit to or refuse the blood or breath test.