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What should drivers know about OUI checkpoints?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | DUI/OUI |

Police officers can arrest individuals for drunk driving when they drive poorly or fail a breath test. Operating under the influence (OUI) offenses are among the most common charges pursued in Massachusetts.

People can get arrested after a basic traffic stop or a crash. They could also end up arrested because they encounter an OUI checkpoint on the roads. What do Massachusetts drivers typically need to know about OUI checkpoints?

They are technically legal

Contrary to what some people believe, a sobriety roadblock or OUI checkpoint does not constitute a violation of someone’s Constitutional rights. Provided that local police departments have the right paperwork in place and follow best practices, they can stop and screen drivers at a checkpoint without violating anyone’s civil rights.

Officers need probable cause for enhanced screening

One of the reasons that checkpoints are legal is that they should involve minimal inconvenience for the people involved. Unless officers have probable cause to believe someone is actually drunk, they should only briefly interact with each individual motorist. Officers need to have a justifiable suspicion of intoxication, such as slurred speech or other issues, to justify engaging in enhanced screening.

They can affect defense options

Every OUI case is unique, and defendants may have a variety of options for responding to their pending charges. Checkpoints can sometimes trigger questions about the accuracy of a test or the confirmation bias of an officer.

Discussing the circumstances that led to an OUI arrest with a skilled legal team may benefit a motorist who is worried about pending charges. Drivers can potentially fight back against OUI allegations related to a checkpoint traffic stop if they craft their approach carefully.

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