Pierce County DUI Defense Lawyer
Were you arrested following a stop at a DUI roadblock or sobriety checkpoint? If so, your Pierce County DUI defense lawyer will launch a two-pronged attack in your defense.
(1) Was the roadblock the sole basis for the stop?
The first prong in the attack on a sobriety checkpoint is to determine whether the checkpoint was the police officer’s sole reason for stopping your vehicle. The goal here is to get the detaining officer to concede that he did not observe an equipment violation or traffic violation prior stopping you at the checkpoint. This ties the prosecutor’s hands, leaving him with the DUI checkpoint as the only reason justifying your drunk-driving detention.
(2) Was the roadblock established and operated in a constitutional manner?
The second prong in the attack on a sobriety checkpoint is to challenge the constitutionality of the checkpoint itself. By ruling of the United States Supreme Court, a drunk-driving checkpoint program that is properly established and operated is constitutional and does not violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. [Michigan v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990).] Factors to be considered in determining whether a drunk-driving roadblock is properly established and operated include:
- Decision-making at the supervisory level;
- Limits on the discretion of officers in the field;
- Reasonable time, duration and location;
- Advance notice to the public and evidence of the official nature of the roadblock at the site;
- Length and nature of the stop;
- A specific purpose (e.g., to enhance public safety), rather than a general purpose of ferreting out crime generally.
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In the Sitz case, for example, the roadblock was established and operated based on guidelines developed by a committee whose members included local law enforcement, state police, state prosecutors, and members of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The Supreme Court found the resulting roadblock program to be was “minimally intrusive” on individual rights and within the bounds of the constitution.
Contact a Pierce County DUI defense lawyer
Roadblock cases raise interesting and challenging legal issues. If you were detained at a roadblock and you would like to speak with an experienced Pierce County DUI defense lawyer about your legal options, please contact me. Use the Free Case Evaluation form on this page to tell me about your situation, or call or email me directly.
For legal issues in the Soiux City area, I recommend attorney Bryan Arneson. Click here for his website.