NC Sobriety Checkpoints

North Carolina is one of thirty-eight U.S. states, including the District of Columbia that allows sobriety checkpoints. Sobriety checkpoints are roadblocks utilized by law enforcement agencies to investigate drunk driving.

Sobriety checkpoints came under scrutiny in 1990 when the Michigan State Police Department created a sobriety checkpoint to reduce drunk driving. The important part was that the checkpoint program had guidelines that governed the location of the roadblocks, the amount of publicity allowed for checkpoints and the operation.

Michigan driver, Sitz, challenged the checkpoint as unconstitutional. The question before the Court was whether drunk-driving checkpoints were an unconstitutional invasion of privacy protected by the 4th Amendment.

The Court held, in a 6-3 decision, that roadblocks do not violate the Fourth Amendment. The Court further stated that, “the weight bearing on the other scale –the measure of the intrusion on motorists stopped briefly at sobriety checkpoints –is slight.” Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990).

While the U.S. Supreme Court held that sobriety checkpoints are legal, it is left up to the several states, whether they will implement them.

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Attorney for Sobriety Checkpoint Violations in Raleigh

If you or someone you know was arrested for drunk driving after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Raleigh, NC, retaining experienced legal counsel is imperative. Coolidge Law Firm has fought for the rights of individual’s charged with driving under the influence and other alcohol offenses for years.

Our office will conduct a thorough investigation of your checkpoint stop and fight to get you the best possible result.

Call (919) 239-8448 today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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Sobriety Checkpoints in North Carolina

In North Carolina, DUI checkpoints are expressly authorized by the Legislature under Section 20-16.3A of the North Carolina General Statutes. With that said, the way that DUI checkpoints are conducted determines whether they are considered constitutional by the State of North Carolina.

Interestingly enough, G.S. 2016.3A goes beyond what was allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court, and allows any car, not just those suspected of being operated by drunk drivers, to be randomly checked for general crime control.

A law enforcement agency must, however, employ a checkpoint policy that any agency conducting the checkpoint, must follow. The reasoning behind requiring a policy is that it limits an individual police officer’s discretion and establishes some uniform policy.

A lawful checkpoint policy must include guidelines for the pattern of stopping vehicles.

Additional Resources

Motor Vehicle Checkpoints – Visit the University of North Carolina School of Government website for a thorough summary of motor vehicle checkpoints in North Carolina. The Bulletin explains the validity of checkpoints, what a law enforcement agency must do in order for a checkpoint to be valid and a few frequently asked questions about how a sobriety checkpoint should be operated.

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Find a Lawyer for Sobriety Checkpoints in Wake County

If you or someone you know has been stopped at a sobriety checkpoint and is now facing criminal driving charges, contact the experienced criminal defense attorney at Coolidge Law Firm.

Our office will request a copy of a law enforcement agency’s checkpoint guidelines, conduct a thorough investigation of your stop and ensure that the officers did not violate your right to privacy.

Call (919) 239-8448 today or fill out the contact form below to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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This article was last updated on Thursday, November 30, 17.


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