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Can Tennessee police legally conduct a drunk driving checkpoint?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2022 | DUI |

The U.S. Constitution and its Amendments include numerous civil rights that protect you from misconduct by the police or state prosecutors. One of the most important amendments to the Constitution is the Fourth Amendment, which protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. 

Some people misunderstand these protections and make assumptions about what the police can or cannot do. They may even use their beliefs as part of a defense strategy in criminal court. There have been numerous court cases that help clarify the Fourth Amendment. 

A common claim related to the Fourth Amendment is that sobriety checkpoints or DUI roadblocks are illegal and invasive. Is that true? 

The U.S. Supreme Court permits DUI checkpoints

According to how the federal Supreme Court interprets the Constitution and Bill of Rights, police officers appropriately conducting a DUI checkpoint have not violated the right of the people that they stop or arrest. 

A checkpoint does not involve significant inconvenience for most drivers. They simply need to wait in line for a few minutes and briefly speak with a police officer. Those who show signs of impairment may need to pull aside for additional screening. Tennessee conducts sobriety checkpoints frequently and even posts information about them online. 

Tennessee residents do have to stop for DUI checkpoints and can’t defend against an arrest simply by claiming the checkpoint was a violation of their rights. However, there may be other defense options available depending on the circumstances. Reviewing the evidence against you in a drunk driving case can help you find a possible defense strategy.