courts in some states upheld roadblocks primarily because the checkpoints satisfied (almost) all of the factors that enhance judicial approval of sobriety checkpoints, the control of "unfettered discretion" being the sine qua non for judicial approval.">
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Drunk Driving Roadblocks

Posted on:10/31/2011
Police administrators themselves agree that checkpoints "are a highly inefficient tactic for catching drunk drivers," as roadblocks are unproductive and a poor allocation of police resources. Overall, only 1 percent of the checkpoint stops result in a DUI arrest.


 

A minority of state courts invalidated drunk driving roadblocks solely because their state constitutions afford citizens greater protection (more due process) against unreasonable search and seizure than the Fourth Amendment, thereby flatly prohibiting the police from stopping anyone without individualized reasonable suspicion.

Courts in some states upheld roadblocks primarily because the checkpoints satisfied (almost) all of the factors that enhance judicial approval of sobriety checkpoints, the control of "unfettered discretion" being the sine qua non for judicial approval. It was also the implicit or express opinion of these courts that the balancing test favored the state interest: the momentary, minimal intrusion on motorists' privacy was a minor inconvenience outweighed by "the magnitude of the drunk driving menace and the potential for deterrence." Hence, "the State's action must be considered as a reasonable infringement upon the motorist's expectation of privacy." Even though citizens are stopped without reasonable suspicion, sobriety checkpoints are not "dragnets whose purpose is an old-fashioned criminal investigation."

A number of courts invalidated roadblocks primarily because police officers had too much operational leeway or due to defects in implementation.


  
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