Every driver in North Carolina has to complete driver’s education courses, so they will have learned about how dangerous it is to drive drunk. There are also ongoing public safety awareness campaigns to help highlight what happens when people drive drunk.
Still, plenty of people get behind the wheel after having a few drinks, and some of them go on to cause severe injuries, massive property damage or even death. If police officers only ever arrested those that they could target in a one-on-one enforcement effort, most drunk drivers would get away with their infractions.
Large-scale enforcement efforts are more efficient solutions for modern law enforcement agencies, especially in locations or at times when officers anticipate many drunk drivers. Are sobriety checkpoints or drunk driving roadblocks legal for law enforcement agencies to utilize in North Carolina?
North Carolina allows sobriety checkpoints
The United States Supreme Court has ruled on drunk driving checkpoints and determined that they do not inherently violate the federal Constitution. Some states have had state courts reach different conclusions. In Texas, for example, there is a presumption that a checkpoint is a violation of someone’s rights.
North Carolina permits sobriety checkpoints and will uphold an arrest performed at a roadblock provided that the police department had the right paperwork in place and followed proper procedure during traffic stops and testing. Thankfully, even if you can’t challenge your arrest because the roadblock was unconstitutional, there may be other defense strategies that could help you avoid a conviction.
Learning about the unique criminal justice rules in North Carolina can help those hoping to defend against pending drunk driving charges.