During the holiday season, Minnesota travelers are understandably at greater risk for drunk driving accidents. In many states, police set up sobriety checkpoints to conduct preliminary screenings of motorists at random, for instance, by stopping every few cars passing through the checkpoint. There have been numerous lawsuits alleging that DUI checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Fourth Amendment protects people against unlawful searches and seizures. A traffic stop is a type of seizure because the driver and any occupants in the vehicle are being detained. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that, in certain conditions, sobriety checkpoints are lawful.
13 state constitutions prohibit DUI checkpoints
Every state has its constitution and its drunk driving laws. In 13 states, including Minnesota, DUI checkpoints are prohibited. This means that a person facing drunk driving charges after being stopped in a sobriety checkpoint in this state may have grounds for requesting a case dismissal. In any event, a driver does not have to comply when asked to take a roadside breath test or field sobriety test.
It is always wise to seek legal counsel regarding DUI checkpoints or other issues surrounding a drunk driving arrest. An experienced criminal defense attorney can determine if a client’s legal rights were violated. The lawyer can navigate the criminal justice system on behalf of an accused individual, either to request a dismissal, challenge evidence or employ strategies to achieve the best possible outcome possible if a case goes to trial. The right to legal counsel can be exercised at any point and law enforcement authorities must stop any questioning of the individual once the request has been made.