DUI Checkpoints or Roadblocks

A roadblock or checkpoint is a specific, designated location on a roadway where vehicles are  stopped by law enforcement. Because the stopping of a vehicle at a checkpoint is a search and seizure occurring with no probable cause, sobriety checkpoints have been challenged as violating the U.S. Constitution’s 4th Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure.

In 1990, the United States Supreme Court reviewed a case challenging the legality of a Michigan DUI checkpoint. There, the Court explained that a state has a legitimate interest in preventing drunk driving accidents. However, this interest must be balanced against a person’s expectation of privacy to determine whether it is impractical to require a warrant or some individual suspicion of drunken driving.  
In an effort to minimize legal challenges to checkpoints, the Nevada legislature has adopted specific requirements for roadblocks. Specifically, the roadblock must:

(1) be visible to approaching traffic from 100 yards in either direction; 
(2) be indicated by a sign stating “Stop” which a motorist must be able to read from at least 50 yards away;
(3) be illuminated by a red light which is visible from at least 100 yards away; and
(4) be illuminated not less than a quarter-mile away with a lighted sign that says “police stop” ahead.

If you were stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you need to consult an experienced DUI attorney to review your case to determine if there any issues relating to your stop. Failure to follow the checkpoint guidelines could result in evidence of your blood alcohol content being suppressed, (not used against you at trial). Call us now to find out your rights and strategies to maximize your defense.

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