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What Are DUI Check Points?

In most states, law enforcement uses a variety of means to ensure the driving public is safe as they traverse the highways and byways. They do this primarily through traffic laws that all citizens follow. We know this is not the case as drivers every day violate these laws of the road. As a result, law enforcement utilizes other measures such as speed traps, radars and speeding tickets as a way to ensure drivers follow the speed limit. The same is true when it comes to drivers who operate their motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance. Law enforcement utilizes a number of strategies to help ensure that drivers are safe and not under the influence while on the road.

One of the most common and most successful tools that law enforcement uses is called a DUI checkpoint. A DUI checkpoint is an established location on the road that law enforcement gathers to randomly check drivers on the road. They typically follow a pattern and randomly stop drivers to check on their sobriety. The pattern may call for the police to stop every four or fifth vehicle who passes a certain intersection or destination. This gives law enforcement the ability to get a sense of the health of the drivers and that area. In 1990 the Supreme Court ruled that DUI checkpoints do not require probable cause and now allows police officers to pull over drivers based off the pattern alone for a brief check-in.

Like most tools available to law enforcement they are most effective when combined with other measures. However, DUI checkpoints have proven to reduce alcohol-related crashes and incidents across the nation. As a result, they appear to be an effective tool at reducing drivers who operate their motor vehicles under the influence and to deter drivers who may be under the influence from getting behind the wheel in the first place.

In Washington State, however, DUI checkpoints, or sobriety checkpoints are not authorized. This is a ruling that the local state leadership has decided not to implement. As a result, we have not had the decline in driving under the influence charges as other states have had across the nation. Because it is not a tool to law enforcement can utilize in this state, it does not mean that law enforcement is unable to enforce the driving under the influence laws surrounding motor vehicle drivers.

In conclusion, we know that even the safest driver may not follow the rules of the road perfectly. We also know that well-intended individuals may not want to harm others as they drive on the road, however, making a bad choice to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance can be costly. As a result, you may find yourself needing an experienced DUI attorney to help represent your legal situation and provide the guidance and counsel that you need in this trying time. Contact us today so we can help you make the best and most informed decisions possible giving you the brightest outcomes.

Categories
  • Washington Association for Justice
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • American Association for Justice
  • Washington State Bar Association
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