Frequently I am asked by clients and friends if DUI Checkpoints are legal. The answer to that question is that it depends.
A few guidelines have been put in place to ensure the DUI checkpoints are done consistently and legally.
First, any roadblock must be implemented by an authorized supervisor. This means that field officers can’t on a whim decide to stop drivers in a dragnet. It also means there must be some planning done by supervising officers of the details of how, when, and where a roadblock will be conducted.
Second, the supervising officer must have a valid primary purpose other than trying to get evidence of potential criminal activity. I’ll cover several legitimate purposes in a future post here.
Third, the roadblock must be implemented as outlined by the supervising officer’s plan. If it isn’t followed closely the checkpoint may be illegal.
Fourth, all vehicles must be stopped and the delay to drivers and traffic must be minimal.
Fifth, the roadblock must meet some other guidelines. It must be identified as a police roadblock. The field officers must be trained to make an initial determination of which drivers should be given field sobriety tests. I discuss in detail field sobriety tests here.
So why does it matter if the DUI Checkpoint is legal? If your attorney can show that the reason for stopping you wasn’t valid. Then evidence from that stop may be excluded from trial. If the right evidence is excluded, it makes the prosecutor’s job of proving the case against you much harder. This may result in your case being reduced or dismissed.
Every DUI case is different. If you have been stopped and charged with DUI at a DUI Roadblock or Sobriety Checkpoint it is important to talk with an attorney as soon as possible to defend your rights. Contact Your DUI Attorney at (770) 824-3030 today to schedule a consultation.