DUI Checkpoints

Important To Know About DUI Checkpoints

A person Driving Under The Influence (DUI) can be detected at a roadside checkpoint.

This is a place where law enforcement officers are located to stop drivers and see if they show any signs of intoxication or driving impairment. Many jurisdictions use DUI checkpoints to deter drunk driving. Not every state is able to have DUI checkpoints because of legal issues. Some states do not directly address the issue. The U.S Supreme Court ruled that DUI checkpoints are permissible under the Constitution.


When individuals at a checkpoint are determined to be driving while intoxicated or impaired; they will be arrested for DUI. In this situation, the only way a person may be able to avoid spending time in jail is by posting a bail bond with the court. Should a person not be able to pay the entire requested bond amount, a bail agent will be able to help. They will provide bail to the court for a percentage of the bail amount. This is a way a person stay out of jail and work on their legal defense.

Fourth Amendment

People are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures as stated in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the law, searches may require a judge to issue a search warrant. This is not always true. It is possible for searches and seizures to happen without a warrant if certain conditions are met. The search must be considered reasonable. This means there must be probable cause and law enforcement must believe it is essential. A court will not consider random searches and seizures reasonable if they are intrusive or burdensome. If they are, a court could negate all evidence obtained during the search. All of it will be taken out of the official case record.

A study was conducted by the independent organization Public Health Law. The research analyzed the effects of the ways particular laws and public policy are applied with regards to DUI checkpoints. It showed that selective breath testing at sobriety checkpoints are effective at decreasing incidents associated with driving intoxicated or impaired.

FBI Study
The FBI did a study and compared the effectiveness of checkpoints vs. saturation patrols. It measured arrests per hour of time law enforcement is engaged a saturation patrol and at checkpoints. The study showed that a dedicated saturated patrol was the most effective method of apprehending individuals driving intoxicated or impaired. It also showed that many states were only able to have infrequent checkpoints due to lack of funding as well as police resources. The study showed some states preferred saturation patrols because an effective checkpoint required too many police officers to operate it.

Courts require jurisdictions to have the location of a DUI checkpoint determined by a local law enforcement official. The checkpoint must be deemed reasonable in both design and operation. It is the official’s responsibility to provide a valid reason the DUI checkpoint. This is done to justify a possible intrusion of a person’s constitutional rights. Law enforcement officers at the checkpoint will be required to follow established procedures.

Stopping Drivers
At a DUI checkpoint drivers must be stopped using a neutral formula. Law enforcement officers are not permitted to randomly stop a person at a DUI checkpoint. They are required to maintain the same standard for all vehicles that go through the checkpoint.

Safety Precautions
Providing adequate safety precautions is also required. DUI checkpoints must have adequate lighting as well as signals and warning signs. They must also have clearly identifiable law enforcement personnel as well as official law enforcement vehicles. Law enforcement officers will be required to clearly identity themselves. DUI checkpoints are not permitted to resemble a version of a speed trap.

Official Nature
DUI checkpoints must make it clear to drivers of its official nature. This is to reassure drivers their stopping is officially authorized. The checkpoint must clearly be identified as a DUI checkpoint. It is not to be used as a way for law enforcement official to check for anything they feel like investigating. The length and nature of all vehicle detentions must be minimized. Procedures must be in place to make certain a driver is not at a DUI checkpoint longer than is necessary.

In order for a DUI checkpoint to be valid, it must be advertised that one will be set up. The idea is if the general public knows about it, they have the option of avoiding it. Should they not avoid it, they have consented to the intrusion at the checkpoint.

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