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.