By Ramy Louis, Esq.
The NYPD is allowed to use DWI checkpoints or roadblocks to stop drivers at specified locations to identify alcohol impaired drivers. In New York City, the enormous volume of traffic renders traditional patrol stops less effective in identifying alcohol impaired drivers on the road. Therefore, the use of checkpoints has developed into a valuable tool for law enforcement. The purpose of these checkpoints is to deter potential violators and catch DWI violators.
Many times these checkpoints are established on nights, holidays, and weekends when drinking and driving is prevalent. Police however do not have unbridled discretion on which cars to stop. In Delaware v. Prouse, the United States Supreme Court held that "random spot checks" of cars violate the 4th and 14th Amendments. 440 U.S. 648 (1979). To be Constitutional, a New York DWI checkpoint 1) may not intrude to an impermissible degree upon the privacy of motorists who are approaching the checkpoint, 2) must be maintained in accordance with a uniform procedure which affords very little discretion to police officers on the scene and 3) must provide adequate precautions as to safety, lighting and fair warning of the existence of the checkpoint.
People v. Scott, 63 N.Y.2d 518, 526 (1984).
If you were stopped at a checkpoint and were arrested for DWI, you should speak with a good DWI lawyer right away. The Law Offices of Lance Fletcher understands the field of DWI law in New York and can challenge a DWI checkpoint stop if it believes it was held against your Constitutional Rights. Contact us today for a case evualuation.