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Legislator argues DUI checkpoints are not effective

A Tennessee legislator believes that the use of DUI checkpoints should be evaluated, as it was determined following an investigation that they rarely led to DUI arrests. However, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving do not agree.

State records show that, in 2016, more than 28,000 vehicles were stopped at DUI checkpoints. However, only 157 DUI charges were filed. In fact, the number of resulting DUI charges was less than the number of DUI checkpoints. In Northeast Tennessee, about 3,300 vehicles were stopped at checkpoints. Only seven individuals were taken into custody on suspicion of DUI and one of the cases was dismissed. The numbers were enough to change the legislator's mind even though he had previously been a supporter of the checkpoints.

However, a lieutenant with the Tennessee Highway Patrol argued that removing the sobriety checkpoints would encourage more drivers to get behind the wheel after drinking. The potential increase in drunk driving would be due to the fact that the drivers have nothing to fear and will be more likely to get away with unsafe driving. Additionally, MADD argued that the checkpoints actually saved communities the cost of alcohol-related car accidents.

People who are determined to be under the influence of alcohol at a DUI checkpoint could face serious punishments that could potentially include a jail sentence, expensive court costs and a loss of their driving privileges. A criminal defense attorney may challenge the drunk driving charges by examining each stage of the DUI checkpoint arrest.

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