Under Missouri state and federal law, as well as case precedent, law enforcement officials are permitted to use drunk driving checkpoints to stop drivers and assess them for possible intoxication. During the 4th of July holiday week, drivers may notice more of these checkpoints as police look to stop drivers that they perceive to be dangerous. However, the random stopping of drivers at checkpoints may seem contrary to individuals' personal right to privacy and the protections provided to them in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Under the Fourth Amendment individuals are to be protected from the unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons and property. During a sobriety or DWI checkpoint, it is important that law enforcement officials execute their tasks with these considerations in mind. In order for a checkpoint of this nature to be permissible, it must balance a strong public need against the invasion of privacy individuals may experience.
If a DWI checkpoint uses arbitrary practices or violates individuals' rights, it may be deemed unlawful. When an arrest is based on the unlawful practice of law enforcement officers an individual may have rights to have their charges reduced or even dismissed.
Drivers should know and protect their rights when they are stopped at Missouri DWI checkpoints. An arrest that arises from such an interaction with police officers should be reviewed by a DWI defense attorney to ensure that it was legal and permissible. This post is offered to readers as information only and any interpretation of its contents should not be used as advice on specific legal cases.