DUI checkpoints are in use widely across the United States and consist of police officers stopping cars to evaluate whether the person driving is exhibiting signs of alcohol or drug impairment.
Checkpoints have been around for a long time, though not without their fair share of controversy. That said, they still exist.
That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with how they work, as well as other interesting facts about them, in case you ever happen across one.
1. There are Rules
In order for a DUI checkpoint to be legal, it has to follow a specific set of rules. For instance, it has to be set up at a specific location and last for a distinct amount of time. This is so that checkpoints create the least amount of inconvenience for law-abiding drivers.
To add to that, the location and time must be determined before the checkpoint is set up in order for it to be legitimate. If not, anyone facing DUI charges may have their case dropped, regardless of whether they were under the influence or not.
In fact, if this is the case for you, your DUI lawyer at Romano Law, P.C. can help you get those charges dropped so you can move on with your life – lesson learned.
2. Stops Must be Non-Discriminatory
In addition to having pre-determined locations and times, DUI checkpoint stops must be non-discriminatory.
For instance, police officers must stop drivers using a specific pattern, such as every third car. If the officers need to switch the sequence for stopping the cars, the next method must still be non-discriminatory.
Plus, documentation of the switch must be made explaining why the method changed and when, as well as what the new method going forward was.
3. DUI Checkpoints are Expensive and Often Ineffective
One DUI checkpoint can cost thousands of dollars to operate. And there is plenty of evidence showing they are not always effective at catching anyone driving under the influence.
In addition, most drivers that are nabbed at checkpoints are only low profile DUI cases, which result in very little profit for the state, even with a full DUI conviction. This mean there is very little offsetting the cost of these checkpoints, and the taxpayers suffer as a result.
4. Each State Has their Own Checkpoint Laws
Each state that allows DUI checkpoints has a set of rules for what can be done at a stop.
For example, law enforcement may be able to do the following if you are one of their stopped cars:
- Run a background check for warrants
- Verify driver’s license, insurance, and registration
- Perform a field sobriety test to test you BAC levels
They cannot however, creep outside the scope of the checkpoint’s original purpose, which is to catch those driving under the influence. For instance, law enforcement officers cannot require all drivers stopping through the checkpoint to consent to a vehicle search in order to proceed through the checkpoint.
In the end, DUI checkpoints are a very real thing that some people have to contend with. And, if you decide that drinking and driving is the way to get home, and you get caught up in a DUI checkpoint, you may find yourself in a lot of trouble.
Don’t want that to happen? Besides not drinking and driving, consider these herbal alternatives to alcohol and drugs, and see for yourself whether attempting to pass a DUI checkpoint drunk is even worth it.