A sobriety check point is a legally accepted tool to combat drunk driving. As you might suspect from its name, drivers are forced to stop in a “roadblock” situation, to allow the officers the opportunity to have brief contact with a driver. If the Police observe indication of drunk driving, such as the smell of alcohol or the slurring of speech, the Police can then proceed to the next step of an investigation. The next step might include road side sobriety tests (walking a straight line ) and the use of a Portable Breathalyzer. They will, of course, ask the driver if he/she has been drinking and a response can be used against them in Court.
There are strict guidelines that the Police must follow if the Court will accept an arrest that results from a checkpoint. However, if the Police follow these guidelines then they need not establish “articulable suspicion” or “probable cause”. In other words, without the use of a checkpoint the Police must have a reason to pull you over, before they can begin a DUI investigation. For example, they could observe a driver weaving between lanes or they could, simply, stop you for any moving violation, such as speeding.
The Police will not announce the timing or the location of their checkpoints, but don’t be surprised if you encounter one in the near future.
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