What is a Sobriety Checkpoint?
You’ve read in the newspaper that there’s going to be a DUI checkpoint in your neighborhood this weekend. What can I expect?
Sobriety checkpoints (also called DUI/DWI checkpoints) are temporary roadblocks used by law enforcement to check for drivers who are operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints are legal and minimally invasive. Since that ruling, 38 states in the U.S., including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have implemented sobriety checkpoints as part of their drunk driving deterrence program. On average, one DUI/DWI arrest is made for every 88 vehicles stopped in a checkpoint.
Law enforcement agencies may be required to disclose the time and location of checkpoints before they occur, so you may hear about them on TV or the radio. Signs are generally posted just before approaching a checkpoint warning drivers that a checkpoint is ahead. At a sobriety checkpoint officers will either stop every vehicle or use a pattern to stop certain cars on a public road to investigate if drivers are impaired. Checkpoints are often set up on the weekends or during holidays when there are a higher percentage of drunk drivers on the road. They are also sometimes located near the exits of large public events to help prevent drunk attendees from being released into traffic at the same time.
The quickest way to get through a checkpoint is to have your driver’s license, registration and insurance identification card ready when you are approached by an officer. Be friendly and courteous. The average stop time in a sobriety checkpoint is about the length of a cycle at a stop light.
Keep in mind that if you are arrested for DUI during a sobriety checkpoint, you face the same charges and consequences had you been pulled over on the highway. Those consequences can include losing your driver’s license, paying fines, jail time, probation and alcohol counseling. If you lose your driving privileges, you may be able to get back on the road with an ignition interlock program. LifeSafer Ignition Interlock devices are offered in most states with affordable pricing. Learn more by submitting our inquiry form, and our helpful customer service agents will answer all your questions.