In an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road, police officers have resorted to using random checkpoints to find drunk drivers. At these random stops, officers will look to see if they can find any drivers who they believe are driving intoxicated and those drivers are subsequently arrested and charged with DUI. While officers continue to use these checkpoints, the Supreme Court held in the City of Indianapolis v. Edmond that using checkpoints for the sole purpose of finding drunk drivers is unconstitutional. If you are facing a DUI charge, it is absolutely essential that you hire a DUI attorney in Detroit who understands this case law and knows how to attack the use of these unconstitutional checkpoints in court.
The Key to Attacking the Constitutionality of DUI Checkpoints
It is important to note that the use of checkpoints in and of themselves is not unconstitutional. Police officers often use checkpoints when looking for wanted suspects or to find unlicensed drivers. In order for your DUI attorney in Detroit to challenge the constitutionality of the checkpoint, your DUI lawyer in Detroit must be able to show that the sole purpose of the checkpoint was to find and catch drunk drivers.
City of Indianapolis v. Edmond also requires that in order for a DUI checkpoint to be found unconstitutional, the purpose of the checkpoint must be found at the “progommatic level.” This means that testimony from street officers who may have been assisting with the checkpoint will not be sufficient. Your DUI attorney in Detroit must question an officer who was in charge of the operation’s plan and implementation (such as a sergeant).
Using Questioning to Attack the Checkpoint’s Constitutionality
In order to attack the constitutionality of the checkpoint, your DUI attorney in Detroit will question any testifying officers as to the purpose behind the checkpoint. The questioning may proceed as follows:
DUI attorney in Detroit: Sergeant, did you conduct the DUI checkpoint?
Police Sergeant: Yes I did.
DUI attorney in Detroit: And did you plan the checkpoint?
Police Sergeant: Yes I did.
DUI attorney in Detroit: So you were the one who determined when and where the checkpoint would be held?
Police Sergeant: Yes I did. I have planned a number of checkpoints in the past and was in charge of this one as well.
DUI attorney in Detroit: A total of 3 people were arrested at this checkpoint, is that correct?
Police Sergeant: Yes there were. That’s how many we typically get at a checkpoint like this.
DUI attorney in Detroit: What do you mean by a checkpoint like this?
Police Sergeant: A checkpoint to find drunk drivers.
DUI attorney in Detroit: So are you saying that was the purpose of this checkpoint? To find and prosecute drunk drivers?
Police Sergeant: Absolutely.
Here the DUI attorney in Detroit is able to successfully demonstrate through the use of cross-examination that the officer being questioned was on the “progommatic level” (that is that he planned, supervised, and carried out the checkpoint) and that the sole purpose of the checkpoint was to find and arrest drunk drivers. Under City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, the DUI checkpoint used in this case would be unconstitutional.
If you have been charged with a DUI after being stopped at a police checkpoint, call the Law Offices of Christopher Trainor & Associates to discuss your case with one of our DUI lawyers in Detroit. Call our office at 800-961-8477 to schedule an initial consultation.