Articles Posted in Roadblock

As outlined in previous posts to this blog, DUI checkpoints remain a commonly used and effective way for the police to stop you and investigate DUI allegations. For instance, the LVMPD has just announced that they will be conducting a DUI Checkpoint between 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 through 3 A.M. on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

While the general public may not be aware that within the last six (6) months, the intersection of Rampart and Charleston has had 87 traffic incidents and two fatal accidents. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department took note of that and will be having a sobriety checkpoint at that intersection as outlined above.

A driving under the influence checkpoint or roadblock involves the stopping of all vehicles traveling on a street or highway. A police officer, or many police officers, may be seen signaling for cars to pull over to the side of the road or being stopped in the middle of the road. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department usually conducts check points during the hours of 6 P.M. – 2 A.M. on a given date, quite often a holiday or time when it is believed impaired driving will be prevalent.  Typically, police checkpoints in Las Vegas, Henderson, North Law Vegas or the surrounding communities will occur on busy, well-traveled streets.  Law enforcement will keep records on checkpoints and previous checkpoints done by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have resulted in as many as 1,500 plus vehicles passing through such a road block.  For example, on Super Bowl Sunday 2015, 1,523 vehicles passed through the pre noticed LVMPD checkpoint.  Each year, DUI checkpoints account for hundreds of arrests for allegation of Driving Under the Influence in the Las Vegas Valley.

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It is no secret that one of the most aggressively investigated and charged crimes in Nevada is Driving Under the Influence, also known as “DUI.” One of the more commonly used techniques to identify and arrest alleged drunk drivers is the “DUI checkpoint.”

When the topic of DUI arrests and DUI checkpoints is brought up to me in conversation, one of the more common questions I am asked is “wait a second…how are DUI checkpoints legal?” And, “are these DUI check points even constitutional?”

While there are lots of variables and the individual facts of each case are unique, in most situations, if a member of law enforcement desires to stop a vehicle driving on a roadway, that law enforcement officer needs to have “probable cause” … or a belief that it is likely that a crime has been committed and that the driver of that vehicle committed that crime. The most common example is when a police officer conducts a traffic stop and pulls someone over for the commission of a moving violation, or “traffic offense” in the officer’s presence.  This gives the officer “probable cause” to stop the driver.

In the case if a DUI checkpoint however, the situation is different. While law enforcement does stop drivers at checkpoints, this method of stopping drivers does not require probable cause as does the typical traffic stop.  Continue reading