With the celebrations of the Fourth of July over and done with, life returns to normal for most. However, there are sure to be some New York drivers who were pulled over in DUI checkpoints. In the aftermath, many will be facing drunk driving charges, and some might be wondering about the legality of DUI checkpoints.
The law generally requires that probable cause is necessary for any search and seizure action. Drivers who did not commit traffic offenses might feel that their rights under the Fourth Amendment are being violated if they are pulled over simply because law enforcement officers decided to stop all vehicle traffic and check for drunk drivers. After all, the fact that every single driver is pulled over suggests that officers are not even considering whether a particular driver has actually violated the law.
However, these checkpoints and the reasonableness of stopping every driver were ruled upon by the Supreme Court in 1990. The court ruled that the importance of protecting the public against drunk drivers outweighs the negligible intrusion on drivers who have not been drinking. Thus, it was decided that DUI checkpoints are valid methods of law enforcement.
New York drivers who have to deal with traffic law issues or drunk driving charges might have questions about their responsibilities and their legal rights. The fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that DUI checkpoints are legal does not remove the responsibility of law enforcement to follow required procedures during Breathalyzer tests and blood screenings. Those drivers facing these legal issues should discuss them with an experienced DUI defense attorney. A New York lawyer can review the charges and examine the evidence before suggesting the most appropriate way to proceed.