Sobriety Checkpoints and the DUI Arrest
Making as many DUI arrests as possible is the increasing motivation for many police departments and police officers. Law enforcement will tell you that they do not have monthly quotas for DUI arrests but the truth is they are “strongly encouraged” to make X amount of DUI arrests on a monthly basis in order to show the brass that they are actively pursuing this evil on Maryland’s roads. No doubt that operating a motor vehicle while impaired is a danger to the community however having overly motivated police officers stopping at nothing in order to make that DUI arrest is also the nefarious. the motoring public would no doubt be surprised at the degree to which police officers will embellish a statement of facts in order to score that conviction in court. With the advent of video cameras it is now possible to show prosecutors and judges the extent that some police officers will go to in order to make the arrest.
Regarding checkpoints, this is the zenith of unconstitutional behavior which date dates back to World War II. unfortunately the highest courts in the states including the United States Supreme Court has found that it is lawful to stop a motorist in this country with no probable cause whatsoever simply in order to determine if that person is breaking the law. This has become known as a checkpoint stop. This is unconstitutional because the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution says that Americans will be free of police intrusion into our lives without some form of probable calls for detainment. Unfortunately, the highest courts in this country have consistently found a DUI exception to the United States Constitution and the framers of our early protections.
Understanding the checkpoints are complete legal fallacy and a breach of our rights, the government has seen fit to build in certain protections in checkpoint cases, in Maryland there are specific cases on point which govern how law enforcement can behave in these matters. For example. When setting up a checkpoint the public must be notified of the checkpoint prior to its effective date. The purpose being to lower the degree of confusion and concern when stopped by law enforcement in what appears to be to be a general police state. In addition to being forewarned, there are other requirements like signage on the street as you approach a police stopped. additionally, as you come upon the signage it is required that cars have an opportunity to turn around and go the other way without having to go through the checkpoint. This evidently makes the stop more voluntary on the driver’s behalf because they are allowed to go back hence where they came from. In practice however there are police officers parked on the sides of the street as you approach a checkpoint and if they see you turn around they will in fact come after you and find a different reason to pull your car over; remember they are absolute professionals at finding a lawful reason to pull a car over. It is safe to say that if a police officer wants to pull your car over he will find a reason to do so. For example speeding, swerving, lack of seatbelt, traveling too close to the car in front of you, traveling to slow, a burned-out tag light, etc. There are countless reasons. In fact if a police officer lacks all other reason he can drive right up on your rear bumper “pushing” you to drive faster and as soon as you do stopping you for speeding, I have seen this before as well.
Getting back to checkpoints however, there are a number of requirements that the police must follow in order to effectuate a lawful checkpoint case. In fact, the entire DUI checkpoint must be set up and signed off on by higher up brass in the law enforcement division. It is possible to request all such documentation from the pre-set up checkpoints in addition to determining where they ran their ads regarding the checkpoint and reviewing all such other requirements like signage and turn off points. Checkpoints can be fairly stringent upon the law enforcement officers in order to do them correctly and therefore qualified counsel should be consulted right away to review such a case in order to identify problems to assist you in the defense of these questionable and dubious stops.