Are drunk driving checkpoints legally justified?

In the state of Florida, police frequently set up drunk driving checkpoints where they randomly stop drivers to determine if they might be too drunk to drive.

These checkpoints have caught many intoxicated drivers. However, some opponents to the use of DUI checkpoints claim that they are a violation of privacy and unlawful. So the question is, what’s the legal justification for drunk driving checkpoints?

Why are drunk driving checkpoints allowed?

Many have attempted to challenge sobriety checkpoints as unlawful in Florida and other areas of the nation. Part of the reason relates to the fact that police are not supposed to be able to pull over drivers or investigate them without a proper reason. However, in spite of them being challenged, checkpoints survive and continue to be allowed in Florida.

The U.S. Supreme Court tends to uphold the U.S. Constitution by protecting our 4th Amendment right to be free of unlawful search and seizure. However, even the Supreme Court agrees that DUI checkpoints should be lawful. In 1990, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling said that states like Florida have such a compelling and important interest in stopping drunk driving that concerns for public safety were more important than any potential for intruding on the privacy of drivers.

Statistics also seem to support DUI checkpoints, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has cited 23 scientific studies in a report that shows a 20 percent decrease in DUI crashes when checkpoints are employed.

Were you accused of DUI after getting stopped at a checkpoint?

Florida and federal law at this junction allow for DUI checkpoints. As such, it is probably not practical for a defendant to try and challenge the legality of a checkpoint following a DUI accusation. However, defendants will have various legal strategies available to them, which they can employ during the navigation of their drunk driving cases. The more you learn about Florida drunk driving laws, and legal tools that might assist you in your case, the better off you’ll be during criminal court proceedings.