Top DUI States For Sobriety Checkpoint Arrests

Written by on March 16, 2013 in Money - No comments | Print this page

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police-checkpointAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (http://www.nhtsa.gov/Impaired), a person dies every 51 minutes in the United States due to an alcohol-related crash. That adds up to more than 10,000 people every year.

This problem is huge, and anyone can be affected at any time. One of the main solutions that police are using in an attempt to stop the problem is the use of sobriety checkpoints.

What Are Sobriety Checkpoints?

Sobriety checkpoints are checkpoints that are set up at night or outside of events in order to test every driver (or one out of every few drivers) and make sure that no one is driving intoxicated.These checkpoints not only work by catching people that are driving while intoxicated, but also by deterring people from driving while intoxicated in the first place.

When people realize that there is a very real chance that they will be caught, they decide not to take the risk and stay home instead. This keeps inebriated people off the streets and can greatly reduce drunk driving fatalities (http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=637&issue_id=72005).

Why Are Sobriety Checkpoints Not Used More Often?

The main reason that sobriety checkpoints are not used as often as they could be is because of the cost. Keeping officers on overtime to maintain checkpoints can be expensive for cities, and many feel that it is not worth it. However, the top DUI states for sobriety checkpoint arrests have been proven to have significantly less alcohol-related crashes (http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/checkpoint.html).

The Center for Disease Control says that the number of crashes went down by around 20% in these states, which could amount to thousands of lives saved if implemented nation-wide.

Another concern that some states cite is the legality of the checkpoints. Some believe that the checkpoints are an invasion of privacy, because they involve many people being tested without doing anything suspicious. Although they are deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, some states continue to keep them outlawed based on state constitutions.

Which States Have The Most Sobriety Checkpoints?

In the United States, 38 states (as well as DC, the Virgin Islands, and the Mariana Islands) allow sobriety checkpoints. The other 12 states have them outlawed based on state constitutions (or, in the case of Texas, based on the state’s interpretation of the United States Constitution) (http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/checkpoint_laws.html).

One of the top DUI states for sobriety checkpoint arrests is California, which performs more than 2,500 checkpoints annually. California takes a strong anti-DUI stance, resulting in them performing an average of about seven sobriety checkpoints a day.

Another state that performs a lot of sobriety checkpoints is Illinois. They perform several hundred a year. Florida does between fifteen and twenty a month, which is between two and three times a week. Most other states perform sobriety checks on a weekly or monthly basis, so you never know when you will get caught in one.

Whether your state performs sobriety checkpoints or not, you still should stay away from drinking and driving. Do not take an unnecessary risk against your life and the lives of others. It is easy to call a cab or a friend after you have been drinking, and it can save you from a lot of trouble.

Christopher J. McCann is a practicing Orange County criminal defense attorney at the law offices of Christopher J. McCann who was recently awarded his 6th SuperLawyers Magazine “Rising Star” award. You can follow Chris tweets at @cjm_law_firm 

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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