As we get closer to the holidays, more people will be having holiday-themed parties complete with alcohol. Because this tends to increase the number of people on the road driving under the influence (DUI), police officers will be setting up a number of DUI checkpoints. At these checkpoints, drivers will be stopped and interrogated by the police as they try to find people who might be violating driving laws.
The reason police departments conduct sobriety checkpoints in the first place is to prevent people from driving to begin with rather than finding and arresting those commit the offense. The law allows officers to forgo Fourth Amendment safeguarding against illegal search and seizure and enables them to stop you, even if they don’t have reasonable suspicion you’re doing anything wrong. Because the length of the stop is usually short, the inconvenience to the driver was deemed by various state Supreme Courts to be outweighed by public safety needs.
Likewise, most checkpoints are held to high standards and regulations. A case in 1987 set the base guidelines that are currently used, called Ingersoll guidelines. These rules prevent the officers from picking and choosing people to stop based on personal biases.
Make sure the officers are following correct procedure if you encounter a DUI checkpoint. For example, only supervisors can make decisions regarding the checkpoint, not each officer in the field. The location can’t be arbitrary, so officers need to have statistical data showing why the area was chosen. The time and length of the checkpoint must also be in conjunction with the data concerning why the area was selected, and the area should be published before the checkpoint is erected. Additionally, there should be proper signage leading up to the location, and the length of time a driver is stopped must be minimal.
If you’re being accused of a DUI, make sure you talk to our skilled Scranton DUI attorney. The Law Offices of William D. Thompson is dedicated to defending the rights and freedom of our clients. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (570) 666-1068 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.