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The legality of DUI checkpoints and your defense options

During the holiday months in the fall and winter, individuals in South Carolina and elsewhere note the increase in traffic on the roadways. Motorists are likely traveling to visit family, go to a holiday gathering or even attend a party. While these are common acts during this time of year, it is also a time where many consume alcoholic beverages. Although have one or two will likely not put a driver over the limit, driver with alcohol in your system can have its risks. This could mean an automobile collision or even a traffic stop by a police officer that suspects you are intoxicated.

DUI checkpoints are frequently used by law enforcement to detect whether motorists are diving under the influence of alcohol. These are frequently used during the holiday season, as there is an increase in drunk driving incidents during the times of year. While most motorists have seen these checkpoints, they may not entirely understand their legality.

Because DUI checkpoints stop drivers that are under the influence as well as those that are not, there is the underlying question regarding if these constitute an unreasonable search and seizure. Back in 1990, the Supreme Court determined that these checkpoints were legal and considered a valid law enforcement method. However, the Supreme Court found this to only be true in cases where the seizure is minimally intrusive and a balancing test is met with regards to the reasonableness of the search and the probable cause standard.

Thus, if you were stopped at a DUI checkpoint and are currently facing a DUI charge, it is important to understand your options. It might be possible to challenge the charge based on the steps taken during the checkpoint. This could ultimately help you reduce or even dismiss the charges against you.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?" Accessed Nov. 27, 2017

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