With the arrival of the summer holidays such as Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July weekend, many people will be celebrating at parties, barbeques, concerts and other festivities. Those who choose to drink alcohol as part of their celebrations may find an unpleasant surprise on the drive home— DUI checkpoints. Law enforcement agencies across the nation are increasingly using this method to catch drunk drivers, in an effort to punish offenders and prevent car accidents. Many will even publicize a checkpoint that is scheduled to be set up on a main thoroughfare, in hopes of deterring citizens from drinking and driving in the first place.
Some question whether such techniques are lawful, in light of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which states that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated," and which sets the standard of "probable cause" to justify a search. Does a random checkpoint constitute an unlawful police stop? For now, the answer is "No." Sobriety checkpoints have been given the backing of the United States Supreme Court, which ruled 6-to-3 in favor of their use in a landmark 1990 case, Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz.
In light of the possibility of being caught drinking and driving at a DUI checkpoint, the best course of action would be to avoid getting behind the wheel, either by choosing a designated driver or taking a cab. If you are arrested, you should not hesitate to contact Dichter Law Office for help from a DUI attorney. Located in Lynwood, WA, the firm has an 85% success rate in having drunk driving charges reduced or dismissed, and an even higher percentage for first time offenders. An attorney from the firm can meet with you for an initial consultation, to review your charges and explain your options for defense.