Are DWI Checkpoints Illegal In New York?

Last updated on July 8, 2022

We know that driving in New York state can be stressful especially since police on Long Island closely monitor traffic violations. Law enforcement is particularly strict when it comes to drunk driving, and the consequences of being convicted of a violation of DWI laws can be life-changing. If you are stopped on the road in NY at an intoxication checkpoint, it is important to know whether the officer had the right to set up the DWI checkpoint, to begin with, if the checkpoint was conducted legally, and what you can legally be compelled to do in this situation. If you have been stopped at a police checkpoint, questioned, and arrested for drunk driving, make sure you bring your case to a highly regarded New York DWI lawyer that can help you protect your rights.

What Is A DWI Checkpoint?

A DWI checkpoint sometimes called a “sobriety checkpoint” or “DUI roadblock”, is a location set up by law enforcement to stop vehicles, make observations, and test drivers for alcohol or drug intoxication.

The police officers are supposed to follow past legal decisions when it comes to the specific sequence or pattern they should use to stop the vehicles. If they aren’t going to stop every vehicle, they need to come up with some other impartial basis such as stopping every third car. The police officers conducting these сhecks can not change or alter the pattern on the spot.

The DUI checkpoint should have safety precautions so that drivers can stop or drive through the checkpoint safely. There should be signs informing drivers about the presence of the checkpoint posted along the road leading up to it.

If you are stopped and arrested at a checkpoint that the legal requirements imposed upon law enforcement, your DUI lawyer will be able to challenge whether the officer had the right to detain you and possibly have evidence against you ruled inadmissible in court.

Can Police Legally Set Up A DUI Checkpoint In New York?

In New York, it is perfectly legal for the police departments to set up sobriety checkpoints where officers may stop and check drivers for a short time to find out if they are driving in a state of intoxication. However, these checkpoints have to conform to the legal limitations place upon them and must be conducted in a fair and impartial manner.

Under New York law, DUI checkpoints are only legal so long as the police do the following:

  • Stop drivers at the checkpoint only for a reasonable amount of time.
  • Set up proper safety precautions including adequate lighting and fair warning of the checkpoint’s existence.
  • Use a predetermined random formula or pattern for which cars to stop.

What Should You Do If You Are Arrested At A DWI Checkpoint?

If set up and conducted properly, sobriety checkpoints can be an effective way to ensure safer roads and eliminate intoxicated driving. However, police cannot trample all over your rights in the name of public safety and must carefully follow the laws governing checkpoints.

If you are looking for the best defense strategy after being detained at a DUI checkpoint on suspicion of drunk driving, we are here to help. Call for a free consultation with Jason Bassett, a Top Rated New York DWI lawyer.

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