In New Jersey, random sobriety checkpoints on the side of the road aren’t just about the thrill of the unexpected.
Actually, the police must give advance notice of any plans to divert traffic and conduct sobriety checks on motorists.
When you see a notice in the paper or on social media about an approaching checkpoint, remind yourself that the authorities are merely doing their jobs and may have prevented a crime from being committed.
Is It Okay to Conduct Roadblocks for Drunk Drivers?
Federal law recognises the legitimacy of these checkpoints, while not all states do. According to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, sobriety checkpoints were found to be lawful by the United States Supreme Court in 1990 (Michigan v. Sitz).
The court decided that police should not worry about violating the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures because the benefits of preventing drunk driving were sufficient.
However, the courts have established clear guidelines that must be followed in order for a checkpoint to be considered legal in the event that an individual claims that their detention or even the temporary suspension of their journey was in violation of their rights.
Police Chief Michael Schneider of Allenhurst and Coordinator of the Monmouth County DUI Task Force said, “One of the rules that we have to follow is that we have to put out the previous announcement of it.”
That’s why you’ll find details like timestamps and addresses in news accounts and police databases.
The checkpoints must be clearly marked so that drivers can see them in order to comply with the legislation. In addition, the police are not permitted to randomly select drivers whose vehicles pass through the checkpoints.
Am I Subject to Arrest if I Am Stopped at A Dwi Checkpoint?
The purpose, according to Schneider, is not to make as many arrests as possible, and the prior warning is meant to serve as a deterrent.
According to Schneider, “our goal is just to have the person not drive under the influence in the first place.”
DWI checkpoint encounters between police and drivers typically last only seconds. But officers at checkpoints still identify drivers who need further investigation and direct them to a secondary stop, where they may undergo sobriety testing or a breathalyser test.
Drivers cannot be forced to submit to a field sobriety test under any circumstances. However, one can be prosecuted for refusing a breathalyser test.
“During certain checkpoints, we’ve spoken with over a thousand vehicles with no arrests being made. In my book, if 1,200 people make the correct choice on a given night, then I consider that night to be just as successful as a night in which we make 7 arrests “A statement by Schneider.
A New Jersey State Police spokesman suggested that drivers would think twice about drinking and driving if they knew that checkpoints would be set up and publicised.