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Are DUI checkpoints legal in North Carolina? 

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Criminal Defense

A DUI checkpoint, or a sobriety checkpoint, is a tactic that law enforcement sometimes uses to find impaired drivers. In short, they set up a checkpoint at a key traffic area and then talk to each driver to come through. Most are allowed to continue after just a few minutes, but some drivers are stopped for more extensive investigations. 

If you think this sounds much different than a standard DUI stop, you’re not alone. People have argued that this constitutes a random stop and is, therefore, a 4th Amendment violation. So are these checkpoints actually legal? 

Courts have upheld their legality

The courts have determined that checkpoints are legal and do not violate a person’s rights under the 4th Amendment. This is still controversial, of course, but that is where the law stands right now. As long as checkpoints are operated properly, they are allowed. 

One thing to note is that these may be called sobriety checkpoints, but the law generally says that they should be used for more than impaired driving. A person who is stopped may be told that they have a broken taillight, for instance, or informed that their registration has expired. 

Have you been arrested for drunk driving?

Naturally, though, the focus for the police is on finding people who are impaired — or, at least, appear to be so. They can then make arrests and have other tests done to determine a driver’s level of sobriety. If you have been arrested at one of these DUI checkpoints, it is very important for you to know about all of the legal options that you have moving forward.