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