In 2016, there were 3,320 cars that passed through DUI checkpoints in six Tennessee counties over 10 nights according to police records. Those records show that only seven people were taken into custody for DUI. This has led critics to claim that these checkpoints are a waste of time and that they don’t work. In most cases, people pass through the checkpoints with no problem.
However, it is possible to be ticketed or cited for other offenses. The data shows there were 30 equipment violations that were found during sobriety checkpoints. There were also 130 instances of people being cited or taken into custody for crimes not related to drunk or impaired driving. In many cases, those who were cited for these offenses may not have been stopped by police were it not for the checkpoints.
The Supreme Court has ruled that checkpoints are legal because they protect the public. The Court found that they do not violate the Fourth Amendment because the intrusion into a person’s privacy is brief and reasonable. Those who study the issue believe that another challenge may be raised to the legality of checkpoints on grounds that police should have reasonable suspicion before making a traffic stop. Authorities say that the goal of these checkpoints is to dissuade people from even thinking about drinking and driving.
People who have been issued drunk driving charges may face a variety of penalties if a conviction is obtained such as jail time, a fine and a license suspension. An attorney may create defenses to the charge such as citing a lack of reasonable suspicion to conduct the traffic stop. It may also be possible to argue that a blood or breath test was conducted improperly, which may result in a case being thrown out.