Does a DUI Checkpoint Constitute An Illegal Search Under the Fourth Amendment?

More than 10,000 people are killed each year in the United States due to drunk driving. So it should be no surprise that authorities are constantly vigilant about looking for and stopping drunk drivers.

One of the most popular ways that this charge is policed is through a sobriety checkpoint. You might be wondering about these charges and whether compliance is a requirement.

Knowing your rights can help you contest an illegal search. This can protect your criminal record and personal life if you think you’ve been unlawfully charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

The tips below will help you when you’d like to know your legal rights when stopped at a DUI checkpoint.

What Is a DUI Checkpoint?

A DUI checkpoint is a station that drivers are asked to stop at in order to pass and go on their way. Before they can proceed, a police officer asks them to roll down their window, asks for their driver’s license and registration, and assesses their sobriety during a brief conversation.

Some of the signs that they look for include:

  • Dilated, red eyes
  • Slurring of the speech
  • The smell of alcohol
  • Visible open alcohol containers
  • Incoherence when answering questions

After the officer’s assessment, a driver may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test to measure their blood alcohol content (BAC), or other sobriety tests. States observe DUI limits of .08% BAC.

Many drivers have questions about the lawfulness of these stops, and whether they infringe upon their Fourth Amendment rights.

What Is the Fourth Amendment?

The Fourth Amendment is the portion of the Constitution that discusses a citizen’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. So naturally, this is the portion that people wonder about as it pertains to sobriety checkpoints.

In general, the practice of these checkpoints are constitutional as long as they don’t violate a person’s rights in certain ways. The main factor is that the checkpoint needs to have clear and specific guidelines that don’t have discriminatory standards. For example, the officers can’t look for drivers based on race, sex, age, type of vehicle, or other such criteria.

They need to cite a rule that they stick to for everyone, regardless of their background. For example, the randomized rule could be to check every four vehicles. The officers must also post signs, lights, and other indicators that let drivers know that they are entering a DUI checkpoint.

Drivers are generally legally allowed to turn around before entering the checkpoint, but could be required to comply based on different state laws once they enter the checkpoint. If a driver makes an erratic turn, doesn’t have their lights on, or other violations when turning around, they could also be stopped and subject to a breathalyzer or sobriety test if they show signs of drunken driving.

These cases rely on understandings and interpretations of the law and will depend on the factors involved in the stop.

What Should You Know About Your Case?

You need to follow some steps that will help you have a fighting chance with your case. There are a lot of legal nuances that could play out in these cases, so you need the help of a legal expert to defend yourself and to have the case play out in your favor.

Consider these steps to help yourself during this situation.

Book a Legal Consultation

It takes the help of a quality attorney to make sure that you’re able to win your case. They can help point out instances that the police violated the Fourth Amendment with an illegal search, or otherwise vilalted your rights. These lawyers are important because they can be the difference between having a conviction on your record and not.

You can go to and browse the site to learn more about how attorneys represent clients in personal injury cases. Once you find some legal options, book a consultation to discuss the terms of the case with them. From there, they will let you know whether they belive you have a valid legal defense, and can explain what they’d do to represent your interests.

Work With Your Lawyer When Preparing the Case

All of the little details are essential when it comes to these sorts of cases. This is why it’s important to be upfront and completely transparent with your attorney. They will need to know the exact narrative of events during the stop as you remember them. Your lawyer will typically also get a video from the stop and other evidence that might help your case.

Stay in touch with your lawyer throughout the process, not only so that they can field your questions, but also to give them any information that they need from you. These cases can be a fluid, ongoing process, particularly if there are any complex factors. Be patient and trust your lawyer to fight for your interests once you hire them.

Handle Your Legal Situation

Dealing with a DUI checkpoint can be tricky territory. Getting through it requires you to have some legal knowledge, along with the help of a professional. Take these tips into account as you look to defend yourself against these charges.

Treat every big decision in your life with the care it requires. We’re happy to be your one-stop shop for information that can help you stay up-to-date on a wide variety of topics. Check out our other posts to learn more!

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