Unique solutions for every client

More about state sobriety checkpoints: Police must follow rules

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense

We recently spoke about ways to avoid those pesky sobriety checkpoints that often arise during the holidays. Now that the season is over, do not expect DUI checkpoints to cease. Virginia considers them a valuable tool in keeping the roads safer for everyone.

Although the police may plan and carry out sobriety checkpoints, they must follow specific rules. If a checkpoint surprised you and you could not avoid it, think back on the encounter to ensure officers did not violate Harrisonburg’s sobriety checkpoint guidelines.

Proper use of discretion

Senior members of the police department must design, implement and supervise DUI roadblock plans. Further, police officers must follow pre-determined and neutral criteria, such as every third or fifth vehicle.

Advance notice and clear indicators

Police departments must publicize the location and duration of checkpoints in advance. The site must have clear indicators such as signs, lights, cones and uniformed officers. Drivers must be able to see the checkpoint from a reasonable distance and have the option to avoid it without being stopped.

Adequate safety precautions

Checkpoints must be conducted in safe locations that do not pose a hazard to traffic or pedestrians. The site must also have sufficient lighting, visibility and space, allowing drivers to navigate the area safely before resuming travel.

Minimal detention of motorists

Sobriety roadblocks must not cause unreasonable delays or inconvenience to drivers. Officers must only stop drivers briefly to check their license, registration, and insurance and to observe any signs of impairment. Drivers who show no signs of impairment must be allowed to proceed swiftly.

Often, police procedural or rights violations during a checkpoint or an ordinary DUI stop can open the way to a successful defense. Take your story to an experienced representative for guidance with your case.