Schwartz & Powell

Drunk Driving Roadblocks: “What did I do?”

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law

This New Years weekend don’t be surprised to have a police officer stop you at a roadblock to chat with you about your recreational activities.

He or she won’t want to know whether you went to a baseball game, or a barbeque or a patriotic concert. He will want to discuss your drinking and see if you look like you’re over the line. Then, he’ll want you to take the driver’s license mandatory blood alcohol test, do the voluntary field sobriety tests testing balance, short-term memory and general orientation. And, then he may or may not arrest you after further quizzing you about how many beers you had with your hot dogs.

Some of my friends say this smacks of a totalitarian power play ignoring the Fourth Amendment’s general prohibition against detaining citizens without, at least, a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. Other friends say this is a reasonable intrusion on a citizen’s liberty because the detention is minimal, the stakes are high, and one’s expectations of privacy while driving an automobile are rightfully diminished.

That’s what my friends say, and who am I to disagree with my friends?

I will leave for your consideration whether DUI checkpoints implicate liberty interests about which you do or do not care. I just want to inform you of this legal issue and practical reality.

And, I want you to think about it.

If, however, you or a loved one find yourself in a spot where a drunk driving arrest has become more than a matter of theoretical interest, please feel free to call for a consultation. My partners and I have extensive experience defending drunk driving and other criminal defense cases to varying degrees of success. If you find yourself in a spot where you or a loved one need a lawyer to handle a DUI case, or any other criminal law case, feel free to call my office and make an appointment for a consultation.

SCHWARTZ & POWELL

805.658.8955

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