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New Jersey Sobriety Checkpoints

Nothing’s a surprise like a DWI checkpoint. Which is why I’ve always been troubled by our courts willingness to allow the police to conduct them. During a DWI checkpoint, drivers are briefly detained and interviewed. Those drivers suspected of being under the influence, are subject to further investigation like field sobriety testing. In order to avoid violating our rights there must be certain safe guards in place. There must be a site plan, indicating the location of all warning signs and the location where the checkpoint is to be conducted.

There must be pre-checkpoint data indicating the locations of bars, the number of DWIs in an area, the number of fatal accidents in a general area, indicating the general need for a DWI checkpoint in that area. There must be publicity indicating the time and location of the checkpoint, and when we say publicity, it must be published in the newspaper or some other means where the public can generally get to. There must be adequate warning signs warning drivers before they enter the checkpoint that they are, in fact, entering a DWI checkpoint and are subject to further investigation.

There must be command personnel present to make sure the checkpoint is running smoothly and done correctly. When we say, “command personnel”, we mean lieutenants, captains, and chiefs. Even if the checkpoint was done correctly, there may not be enough evidence to arrest or even convict. This is why it is extremely important to hire a DWI specialist. Someone who knows the technical, scientific, constitutional, and other legal aspects of the DWI checkpoint.


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