How might sobriety checkpoints be unfair to drivers?

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve just around the corner, law enforcement will be stepping up efforts to catch drunk drivers before accidents occur. You and other Missouri residents may understand the need for safety and legality on the roads, but you might not anticipate that you could be charged with drunk driving even if you are under the legal blood alcohol content limit. Sobriety checkpoints are one of the methods authorities use to detect drunk driving, especially during the holidays.

As FindLaw explains, sobriety checkpoints are set up in certain areas around town during peak drunk driving periods, often around holidays like New Year’s Eve and Memorial Day. Usually, an officer would pull you over if he or she has a reasonable suspicion that you are driving intoxicated – for example, you might be driving erratically or you ran a stop sign. Officers don’t need a reason to stop drivers at a checkpoint. Instead, drivers are stopped due to a predetermined pattern, such as every fifth vehicle.

Some people believe sobriety checkpoints are unfair because they subject drivers to unreasonable searches, violate their privacy and increase the chances of a false arrest. For example, you might get a DUI, despite being sober, if you fail a field sobriety test. These are often conducted during sobriety checkpoints and can be difficult to pass for people with anxiety, balance or mobility problems or other impairments.

You are entitled to a competent defense regardless of the circumstances of your charges. Therefore, this information is not intended to replace the advice of a lawyer.