Friday, November 14, 2014

DUI Checkpoints

I have strongly negative and visceral feelings about the possibility of police setting up DUI checkpoints.  Theses are checkpoints wherein each car is stopped, and the police interview the drivers while searching for evidence of intoxication.  I totally agree that driving an automobile while under any adverse influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous and that the manifest loss of life and limb is tragic.  I have no problem with police pulling over a car which gives them probable cause by erratic or conspicuous maneuvers.  My angst lies in the idea that the police are able to screen people as they go their way looking for miscreants.  We all know that miscreants are there.  We all know that in the cars, houses and businesses of our everyday world there are law breakers who have illicit drugs, driving impaired, or have other evidence of crimes on their persons or property.  Do we really want to be screened as a matter of routine in the quest for an ideally peaceful and safe society?  Under the slippery slope theory it would next move to the police being able to search your car for evidence of criminal activity, other than DUI, and from there to searching homes and persons in a systematized manner.

So, here we are.  The legality of the DUI checkpoints have been tested in the courts and are here to stay.  What are your court affirmed rights?  Firstly, you do not have to go through the checkpoint.  The police are required to give you ample notice of the checkpoint through posted signs.  These signs should be posted far enough in advance to allow you the option of turning around and going in another direction.  You must, of course do this while complying with all the other traffic laws.  Should you elect to enter the checkpoint, you must co-operate with the police in their stated mission of discerning your acceptable sobriety.  They may ascertain that you are in compliance with traffic laws such as having your driver's license, insurance, registration and inspections.  If you are sober, there should be no problem.  You do still have the right to refuse a search of your car.  The best method is to adopt a mature, respectful attitude.

If you are actually impaired, well then, I hope you are caught.  And while I'm on the subject, we need to develop an universal intolerance to using our cell phone gadgets while we are driving as well.  I have friends who are working police officers and I have asked them if cell phone induced accidents are a problem.  They all, without hesitation, agreed that it is so.

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