Friday, August 16, 2013

Why are DUI Checkpoints Constitutional?

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints in 1990. If conducted properly, DWI checkpoints do not constitute illegal search and seizure in most states. The U.S. Supreme Court decision held that the interest in reducing alcohol-impaired driving was sufficient to justify the brief intrusion of a properly conducted sobriety checkpoint.

Most states, including California,  allow DUI checkpoints. Many states have set up and established their own guidelines to supplement the federal rules.  For instance, most jurisdictions require advance notice of the checkpoint to the public. A few states require the production of police studies showing why a checkpoint location is selected. One state requires police to obtain a Superior Court order before the checkpoint may be conducted. the laws in most states will dictate to what extent the police can go in stopping motorists to determine their sobriety .

According to one Torrance DUI Attorney, if a checkpoint complies with the federal requirements, it does not violate the United States Constitution.  Most states have decided the issue under their own constitutions as well.  In states where sobriety checkpoints are prohibited, the reasons vary as to why they aren’t allowed. Eleven states currently prohibit any type of sobriety checkpoint. California decided back in the 90's to allow the police to stop vehicles following the Federal law standards, put another way, the law in this state is that the cops can stop and search people as long as the stop complies with the U.S. Constitution, not the state Constitution.

So why is a DUI checkpoint legal?  One perspective is that, as citizens, most of us support the police to protect us from theft, burglary and assault. Yet, many otherwise law-biding citizens continue to view impaired driving merely as a traffic offense. Don’t be fooled. Impaired driving is no accident nor is it a victimless crime. s a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures nearly 305,000 others every year. Every 32 minutes, someone in America dies in an impaired driving crash. Every two minutes, someone is killed or injured by a DUI driver Law enforcement agencies in every State and locality are serving on the front lines in the fight against this deadly threat to this country's communities. Traffic crashes are not only a danger to our citizens but are also the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers on the road. More cities are also beginning to understand the economic cost of this criminal activity. Impaired driving (DWI) cost the public more than $110 billion a year. DUI related car crashes are deadlier and more serious than other accidents and they hurt everyone - annually people other than the drinking driver pay 50 plus billion of the costs of DUI drivers.

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