Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a full phone consultation or video conference is appropriate for your situation.

Are arrests at DUI checkpoints legal?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense

People often get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) offenses in Kentucky after police officers notice concerning behavior in traffic. Police officers can stop anyone who drives in an unsafe manner and can screen them for signs of intoxication. A DUI arrest is also a possibility after involvement in a motor vehicle collision.

Targeted enforcement allows the state to prosecute some people who drive while under the influence. Despite those efforts, impaired driving remains a consistent public safety issue in Kentucky. Police departments sometimes engage in broader enforcement efforts, such as sobriety/safety checkpoints.

DUI roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints involve police officers stopping every vehicle that approaches a certain location on a public road. They screen each driver and arrest those who appear to be under the influence. Do arrests at DUI checkpoints lead to valid criminal charges in Kentucky?

Checkpoints are a legal law enforcement tool

People often think of DUI checkpoints as a potential abuse of their civil rights. After all, police officers indiscriminately stop dozens of people at any checkpoint they conduct. Despite people’s concerns, both federal and Kentucky state courts allow criminal cases related to checkpoints to proceed.

Provided that police departments follow the right procedures, checkpoints are not automatically a violation of an individual’s civil rights. They are legal if the involved agencies adhere to certain standards. Police departments have to have the right paperwork on record.

They also need to minimize how inconvenient the checkpoint is for the average person that they stop. They need to follow proper protocol when conducting field sobriety tests or deciding to arrest someone.

Fighting checkpoint charges is possible

Contrary to what people often assume, an arrest at a checkpoint is not a guarantee of a criminal conviction. Issues with paperwork or concerns about how officers conducted testing could play a role in a DUI defense strategy after a checkpoint arrest. The best defense strategy depends on the exact circumstances that led to someone’s arrest and their previous driving record.

Reviewing the state’s evidence with a skilled legal team can help people determine how to respond to a pending Kentucky DUI charge. Those who choose to fight checkpoint-based DUI charges can potentially avoid a life-altering criminal record.