Featured News 2019 Everything You Need to Know About DUI Checkpoints

Everything You Need to Know About DUI Checkpoints

Everything You Need to Know About DUI Checkpoints

You may have seen a DUI checkpoint before—they are easily identifiable by traffic cones, slowed cars, and a heightened presence of law enforcement officials. According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, a DUI or sobriety checkpoint is a location where law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers for intoxication or impairment.

What is the Purpose of a DUI Checkpoint?

Law enforcement officials use DUI checkpoints during crackdowns on drunk driving. Checkpoints are most common around the time of holidays when more people might be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI checkpoints are only one of the methods that police enforcement use to catch and arrest drunk drivers. Officers also increase their patrol around liquor stores and bars to catch offending drivers. Additionally, some law enforcement agencies request that citizens report any vehicles that they suspect to be under the control of an intoxicated driver.

Do All States Have DUI Checkpoints?

In the United States, law enforcement officials in 38 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands use sobriety checkpoints. The remaining 12 states do not allow DUI checkpoints.

States with no DUI checkpoints are the following:

· Alaska

· Iowa

· Idaho

· Michigan

· Minnesota

· Montana

· Oregon

· Rhode Island

· Texas

· Washington

· Wisconsin

· Wyoming

These states have either outlawed checkpoints, decided that they violate their constitution, or simply do not allow them. Texas has taken a stand to say that DUI checkpoints are not fair according to the standards in the United States Constitution, and Alaska lacks the state authority to conduct these tests. Texas' argument is that the Constitution requires that officials have a "probable cause" before stopping a citizen and asserts that drivers should not be subjected to questioning because they happen to be on the road at a certain time. In Michigan vs. Sitz, the Michigan Supreme Court fought on the issue of DUI roadblocks. The court eventually decided that the roadblocks are indeed constitutional.

Non-Legal Arguments Against DUI Checkpoints

The American Beverage Institute argues that DUI checkpoints can be costly, annoying to motorists, and virtually ineffective. ABI argues that saturation patrols, efforts in which officers increase their presence in an area, are more cost-effective and productive. The organization cites statistics from one checkpoint in Long Beach, California—only 0.35 percent of drivers questioned over an 8 hour period were detained for DUI. It also asserts that modern technology allows drivers to alert each other of checkpoints, causing offenders to avoid the area while forcing innocent and less paranoid drivers into the inconvenience of a sobriety checkpoint.

How Are DUI Checkpoints Conducted?

Each of the 38 states which allow DUI checkpoints accomplish them through different methods. Some states have weekly DUI checkpoints which typically occur on weekends. Other states have monthly checkpoints, while the rest only conduct them sporadically.

Officers will likely be closely watching the line of cars waiting to go through a sobriety checkpoint. Drivers who turn out of this line will likely be followed and eventually pulled over by these watchful officers. Though a driver is technically allowed to avoid a checkpoint, traffic cones will typically be set up in a way that forces a person to violate the law if they turn out of them.

What to do if Charged With a DUI

If you have been charged with a DUI offense, the best option is to obtain the help of an attorney. With the right legal help, your charges might be diminished or, in the best cases, completely dropped. A DUI attorney will fight to protect your future because a DUI offense should not be something that changes a person’s life.

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