Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:31

Sobriety Checkpoints and the Fourth Amendment

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There has been an ongoing debate about sobriety checkpoints in relation to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution which states:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

There are many people who don't quite understand what DUI checkpoints are really about. Hopefully this post will shed some light on the issue and make you think more about what your rights are as citizens.

Until this day part of me feels that DUI checkpoints are ok because they do contribute somewhat to the prevention of drunk driving. On the other hand, I stand by the Fourth Amendment and feel that checkpoints are a violation of privacy. After reading Nick Schweitzer's article, "Sobriety Checkpoints Are Not the Answer", I'm now leaning more on the side that checkpoints should indeed be outlawed in California. Schweitzer really goes in depth on the issue, so I highly recommend reading his article. I completely agree with what he says here:

In fact, there is evidence that traffic deaths may increase due to these checkpoints because the worst of the drunk drivers (those who are seriously impaired with high BAC levels) avoid the checkpoints when spotted (and often because their locations are advertised in the paper), while those who have had a drink or two continue to go through, because they don't feel impaired.

So, what happens if we do away with DUI checkpoints? It would free up money to spend on counseling and educating DUI offenders. I think this is where we can make the most impact - after all, repeat DUI offenders are the ones who cause the most accidents.
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