DUI Checkpoints / Sobriety Checks

In most states, the police sets check points to check for drivers under the influence of substances or intoxicated in any other way. Usually, the police set up these points of inspection on the side of busy roads, and during holidays, such as July 4 and Memorial Day which is known to be an abuser of alcohol. The inspection points are usually traffic checks at intersections in which officers stop the cars at random at regular intervals (such as every ten drivers) and check the symptoms of alcohol intoxication.

Although the inspection point of DUI or sobriety, is still causing controversy and is banned in some states, federal laws support its legality.

You can get more information about this common practice of the public order and refer to the section DUI Arrest to find related articles.

The Legal Justification for DUI Checkpoints

The points of inspection of sobriety continue to exist after many legal questions, even in states in which the statutes require that an officer have a reasonable suspicion of intoxication before initiating a traffic stop. Reasonable suspicion that a driver is intoxicated and, therefore, subject to a detention, can be set if you are seen driving aimlessly, lane change, or other suspicious behavior.

Given that the police stops and questions the drivers at random at the check points, how legal is this?

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 1990 that states had an interest in pressing on to get rid of drunk drivers and that public safety issues are more important than the concerns regarding the “intrusion” into privacy of the drivers. Those who raised the case argued that these checkpoints constituted unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment, but the Court determined that they were reasonable, given the conditions. The inspection points reduce the amount of alcohol-related crashes by 20 percent, according to reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control which combined the results of 23 scientific studies.

Sobriety Checkpoints and State Laws

Although the federal laws accept the inspection points in order to maintain safety on the roads, states can decide whether to use them or not. The DUI points of inspection do not apply in 12 states because they are considered illegal under the laws or the state constitution, or because the state does not have the authority to implement them:

  • Alaska: lack of state authority
  • Idaho: illegal according to state laws
  • Iowa: the statute authorizing traffic controls does not allow the inspection points of sobriety
  • Michigan: illegal under the state constitution
  • Minnesota: illegal under the state constitution
  • Montana: state laws only allow for “random security checks”
  • Oregon: illegal under the state constitution
  • Rhode Island: illegal by a decision of the state Supreme Court
  • Texas: illegal according to the interpretation of the Constitution of the United States by state
  • Washington: illegal by a decision of the state Supreme Court
  • Wisconsin: illegal according to state laws
  • Wyoming: illegal according to the interpretation of the statute of the controls vials

Consult a Lawyer who Specializes in DUI

If you or a family member is arrested for driving while intoxicated, you may need the services of a lawyer who specializes in DUI/DWI. A lawyer who specializes in defending charges of driving while intoxicated will evaluate all of the evidence, including the procedure and results of field sobriety tests and chemical substances, to ensure protection of their rights.

Watch video Are DUI Checkpoints Legal? Legal Survival Guide

Does a DUI checkpoint violate 4th amendment rights? Attorney Matt Wallin explains the laws behind these controversial police practices.

– 01:25 and 02:04 Are checkpoints constitutional?
– 03:03 Do police need probable cause?
– 04:21 Can you ask police for their ID?
– 05:07 What happens if you don’t have your license?
– 07:19 Police bully tactics

Is a DUI or ID checkpoint Constitutional?

Checkpoints are weighed carefully by courts, attempting to balance drivers’ 4th amendment rights with law enforcement’s duty to protect the public.

Officers are trained to engage drivers in a casual manner. By greeting people informally they try to lower concerns about traffic stops.

Random vehicle stops violate the 4th amendment, so why are dui checkpoints constitutional? The US Supreme Court has ruled that in very specific and defined circumstances checkpoints can be used to target a limited number of crimes. When evaluating police practices, courts must balance citizen’s rights against the legitimate interests of police to uphold the law. Many believe that police are slowly chipping away at their rights and that courts are refusing to address the problem.

Unfortunately, this officer does not know the law. The officer does not need probable cause to execute a checkpoint stop.

During a traffic stop an officer is not legally required to show his identification. Matt Wallin explains the relevant laws in detail.

What happens if you forgot your license at home and the police ask for it? The officer is allowed to conduct a warrantless search of the vehicle to find it!

Intimidation and bullying is a common tactic used by law enforcement. By infringing on your freedom of movement, police put pressure on drivers to comply with their orders.