Can You Fight A DUI Charge From A Checkpoint?

Posted on: 3 October 2017

Law enforcement will periodically set up a checkpoint to determine if drivers are under the influence. Some of the checkpoints result in arrests for driving under the influence, or DUI. If you were arrested at a checkpoint, here is what you need to know.

Is It Constitutional?

One of the first concerns that drivers have about a DUI checkpoint is about the constitutionality of the stop. To many, the checkpoint seems like a violation of Fourth Amendment rights. Whether the stop is considered constitutional depends on many factors.

To stop a car, a police officer must show that he or she had probable cause. For instance, if he or she observed you driving erratically, that would be considered probable cause. At a checkpoint though, the police are stopping all the drivers in an area. It could be argued that since the stops target everyone, there is no way that probable cause would apply.

However, the state and federal laws could allow the stops based on the need to prevent drunk driving accidents. The Supreme Court has agreed in a past decision that the checkpoints are not considered unconstitutional because they are minimally intrusive and result in fewer drunk drivers on the road.

If you are planning to argue that the stop was unconstitutional, review past cases in your state. There might have been a challenge in your state that was successful at a lower court level that you could use to help build your case.

How Can You Fight the Charge?

If you are arrested at a checkpoint, you can still fight the DUI charge. One of the first steps you can take is to challenge the results of the DUI test. There are several problems that can occur with a blood test and you could use them to your advantage.

For instance, your attorney could argue that the test was not administered by a properly trained and certified medical professional. Even if it was, your attorney could argue about how the blood was handled after it was collected. If the chain-of-evidence procedures were not properly followed, your attorney could argue that there is no guarantee that the blood sample was not tampered with by someone.

Another possible defense is that you were not read your Miranda rights. If the officer failed to Mirandize you, your attorney might not be able to ask that the charged be dropped, but he or she could ask for the evidence to be excluded. If the judge agrees, the prosecutor will have a bigger challenge in pushing forward with the case. Talk to a traffic lawyer to get more information.