Just because the police choose to do something does not mean that it is legal. For instance, if they search your home without consent or a warrant, that’s an illegal search in all but rare cases — such as an active crime. If they racially profile you and arrest you on no evidence, that can be an illegal arrest.
In this vein, people often ask if DUI checkpoints are illegal. Here’s what you need to know.
Why would they be illegal?
First off, the reason people think these may be illegal is that they require all drivers to stop and essentially prove their own sobriety. Generally speaking, it’s illegal for officers to pull someone over for a DUI check without reasonable suspicion that the person is intoxicated. They have to see evidence of intoxication first. A DUI checkpoint subjects every driver to a stop, which appears to violate these rights. Drivers who have done nothing wrong and who are driving perfectly still have to stop.
Why they still happen
As you may have gathered from the widespread use of these checkpoints anyway, they are not considered illegal at this time, though the issue has been brought up repeatedly. There are still many who think they should be illegal.
That said, when the courts have addressed this issue, they have found that the checkpoints are typically legal. There are regulations police have to use when running them, and they can’t violate your rights further, but they can stop you.
This is still a contentious issue and people disagree with these rulings, but that’s where the courts stand. In their view, checkpoints help to keep the roads safe and they’re very effective at doing it. On those grounds, they said that the checkpoints don’t violate the Fourth Amendment.
If you get arrested
If you do go through a checkpoint and you get arrested, that’s not the end of the case by any means. You still need to know about all of your legal rights and options moving forward, and our experienced law firm can ensure that you do.