You know the
feeling: even if you haven’t been drinking, seeing a stationary sobriety
checkpoint ahead on the road while driving at night can make you more than a bit
nervous (or remind you that you just rolled a stop sign, that your registration
just expired, etc).
However, here are a few things to do if you encounter a stationary sobriety checkpoint in Virginia:
Slow down and proceed normally until you are actually stopped by an officer.
Chances are you won’t even be stopped. Federal law states that police can’t detain every car—they’ll be using a mathematical formula to determine which cars to pull over and they must maintain a copy of the formula in case the checkpoint is challenged.
If you are detained, it’s just like being pulled over. Normally when you’re pulled over I don’t advise having your license/registration ready (because it can imply you are often pulled over and "know the drill"), but in this kind of situation it can’t hurt. They will most likely ask for these documents, so just pull them out of the glovebox while you’re waiting.
Federal law states they must minimize the amount of time they detain you. This means they can only ask you to step out of your vehicle and take a field sobriety test if the officer feels you exhibit obvious signs of intoxication: glassy eyes, slurred speech, smell of alcohol in the car, etc. Remember, even saying something to the effect of “I’ve only had one drink,” (which, yes, it’s possible to do and be under the legal limit) can be interpreted as a confession or lead to further questioning.
Step out of the car if they ask you to.
Remember, Virginia has Implied Consent, meaning if you choose to drive on Virginia roads, this implies you consent to sobriety testing. So basically if they want to give you a field sobriety test, you just need to roll with it.