Cases Slipped After Lawless Dui Checkpoint : What Experts Say

Sobriety checkpoints also known as DUI checkpoints are launched by law enforcement officers to check whether the drivers on road show any signs of intoxication and impairment. The checkpoints are usually set up at late night or in the early morning and during weekends. Some states in the Unites States are authorized to conduct such checkpoints, while it is illegal under some state laws.

The thought behind a DUI checkpoint is that it permits the law enforcement officers to pick cars randomly and confirm whether the drivers are under the influence of alcohol or any other drug. However, DUI attorneys state that the checkpoints are lawless. Though they accept that Driving under the influence of alcohol or drug is a serious problem, they specify that the good guys know how to balance their need to stop drunk driving with the personal rights and freedoms of people sharing the road.

The Supreme Court came to a decision in 1990 that DUI checkpoints are lawful, but it insisted that the law enforcement should follow some rules. One of the important rules is that the law enforcement must file an operational plan describing the way they will select the drivers randomly for field sobriety tests, before launching checkpoints. Many experts say that filing an operational plan previously ensures that the law enforcement officials cannot select drivers for sobriety tests on the basis of race or some other factor. DUI checkpoint should be conducted randomly. The officers need to pick every fourth car or fifth car. If they swerve from the plan, the checkpoints become illegal. Though there was no sign that the officers stopped the vehicles on the basis of race, type of car or other factor, they made a violation that made the checkpoint illegal.

Last December, Highway Patrol officers of Florida and Police officers Tarpon Springs filed an operation plan that they were going to pick every third vehicle. However, video recordings show that the officers broke the rules. They picked third and fourth cars at the time. However, the state attorney’s office was informed that the officers were not following the operational plan. The attorneys took a new tactic, instead of dropping the case. They got ten officers who worked that night to sign confirmation statements saying that they had followed the operational plan. The attorneys had had their clients’ case dropped by proving that the checkpoints were illegal.

DUI checkpoints serve the important purpose of preventing risky impaired driving. However, the officers should respect the constitutional rights of the citizens against unfair arrests. Experts say that all DUI cases will be dismissed, if the law enforcement officers do not follow the procedures properly.

Many people are under the false impression that DUI checkpoints are legal throughout the country. However, 11 states currently prohibit sobriety checkpoints within their boundaries. Even in states where DUI checkpoints are allowed by law, they should be done in a proper manner. The Supreme Court stressed that the search and seizure are constitutional, as long as the rules are followed properly.