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What is a DUI or sobriety checkpoint?

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What is a DUI or sobriety checkpoint?

A DUI or sobriety checkpoint is a barricade that is set up used by law enforcement to require motorists to funnel through a set lane of traffic in order to be checked and evaluated by law enforcement to determine whether or not the subjects are potentially driving under the influence of alcohol. The potential problem of a DUI or sobriety checkpoint is some would argue that is flies in the face of the Fourth amendment. In order to initiate a DUI arrest, there first must be contact between law enforcement and the person suspected of being under the influence of alcohol. That initial contact traditionally occurs where law enforcement makes observations of certain driving patterns that give rise to a valid traffic stop. Those driving patterns may include speeding, weaving, driving too slow for conditions, a traffic crash or accident, or other indicators that may lead that officer through his training or experience that a driver may be driving under the influence of alcohol.  Absent those conditions or absence a lawful basis for a traffic stop, a DUI or sobriety checkpoint allows law enforcement to have contact with an unlimited amount of motoring public, without the requisite of reasonable suspicion or Lawful basis for t traffic stop. In a DUI or sobriety checkpoint, a driver would be subjected to being diverted into a lane of traffic that and have contact with a law enforcement officer who may ask questions to that motorist such as “Have you consumed any alcohol?”, require a short period of time for the officer to make an observation of that driver, look to make sure that person does not have blood shot or watery eyes, see if there is an odor of alcohol coming from that person, determine whether or not they have slurred speech, or if they have any dexterity problems. If they do have a problem, they then go forward with a more detailed DUI investigation, maybe have them perform a roadside field sobriety test, or subject themselves to breath testing or blood testing. Supreme Court has addressed this issue of the Fourth Amendment meaning that there needs to be a basis for a traffic stop with a fact that with a DUI checkpoint or sobriety checkpoint, that there is no basis by saying that in certain circumstances, if certain criteria are met, that law enforcement can enact a DUI checkpoint or sobriety checkpoint in order to stop a motoring public to determine whether or not they might potentially be a DUI driver. It is very important if you’ve been arrested for DUI, DWI or OUI and your arrest was the result of a sobriety checkpoint, to check with a local DUI lawyer who specializes in DUI Defense in your jurisdiction. He or she will instruct you on the law in your jurisdiction that may allow you to attack the basis of your traffic stop; arguing that the sobriety checkpoint that was used in your case may have not passed the muster of your state’s laws.


The criminal defense attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. are fighting for our clients rights in criminal defense cases in ClearwaterTampaBradentonSpring Hill, Pinellas, Pasco, New Port Richey, Manatee, Hillsborough and Hernando Counties in Florida.

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J. Kevin Hayslett

Kevin Hayslett, Esq.

J. Kevin Hayslettis an attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally rated in singles and doubles. You can follow Kevin onGoogle+, oron Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Sirius Satellite Radio show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard the first Thursday of every month.