Sobriety Checkpoints: How Much Notice is Required?

Research on sobriety checkpoints tends to agree that checkpoints work best when the community is informed about them ahead of time. When drivers know approximately when, where, and for how long a sobriety checkpoint will be operating, they choose to avoid driving when they believe they may be too impaired by alcohol or drugs to make safe choices behind the wheel or to avoid a possible arrest. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints are legal as long as a minimum amount of notice to the community is given. But how much notice is required? Many state courts around the country have given different answers to this question.

For instance, New Hampshire’s Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that notice published the same day in at least one newspaper is enough notice of a sobriety checkpoint when the checkpoint itself is also clearly marked with signs indicating what it is for and where drivers should stop. In North Carolina, a Court of Appeals found that an individual driver stopped at a checkpoint did not have to know about it in advance in order for the stop to be constitutional, as long as the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated in any other way at the stop.

If you or someone you love has been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI), please don’t hesitate to call the experienced Colorado drunk driving defense lawyers at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. We will work with you to build an aggressive defense that protects your legal rights and fights for the best possible outcome in your case. For a free and confidential consultation, call us today at (719) 475-2555.

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