OVI / DUI Sobriety Checkpoints In Ohio

DUI / OVI Charges Arising From Sobriety Checkpoints In Columbus And Central Ohio

One method of DUI / OVI enforcement is sobriety checkpoints; also called DUI roadblocks and DUI checkpoints. When operating a sobriety checkpoint, Ohio law enforcement officers stop every vehicle (or a subset of vehicles) that passes through a certain area of a public road. The officers then question the drivers about consuming alcohol and driving. If the questioning by the officers uncovers evidence that a driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the driver is further detained and investigated with field sobriety tests and breath tests. DUI checkpoints are established at strategic locations at significant times, such as holiday weekends and special events. They often are joint ventures involving multiple law enforcement agencies such as the Ohio State Highway Patrol and local police departments (e.g., the DUI Task Force).  If you were charged as a result of a checkpoint, you may want to hire a Columbus DUI / OVI lawyer who understands how to litigate checkpoint cases.

Effectiveness Of Sobriety Checkpoints In Ohio DUI / OVI Cases

The goals behind sobriety checkpoints are to deter drunk driving, detect drunk driving, and punish drunk drivers. While it is impossible to measure deterrence, it is possible to measure detection and punishment because records are maintained regarding the number of people charged with drunk driving at each DUI checkpoint. In Columbus and central Ohio, a very small percentage of all drivers stopped at DUI checkpoints are charged with DUI / OVI. While not many drunk drivers are detected or punished by establishing DUI roadblocks in central Ohio, hundreds or thousands of drivers are inconvenienced by the process.

Legality Of Sobriety Checkpoints

In 1990, the United States Supreme Court upheld the validity of DUI roadblocks in Michigan v. Sitz. The Court found the intrusion/inconvenience of individuals being stopped is outweighed by the government’s interest in curbing drunk driving. In the same year Sitz was decided, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published recommended procedures for DUI roadblocks. For a DUI checkpoint to be legal, law enforcement must follow guidelines regarding such issues as the location of the checkpoint, the operation of the checkpoint and the publicity of the checkpoint. In addition, if a driver stopped at the checkpoint is further detained for a DUI / OVI investigation, that detention must be based on a reasonable suspicion the driver is under the influence, and any subsequent arrest must be justified by probable cause.

Strategies For Ohio DUI / OVI Cases Arising From Sobriety Checkpoints

A DUI / OVI attorney can review the records related to the sobriety checkpoint to determine whether it was operated within the established guidelines. If not, any evidence obtained as a result of the stop may be excluded. In addition, a DUI / OVI attorney can investigate the propriety of the arrest, the administration of field sobriety tests, the circumstances surrounding the breath test, and the circumstantial evidence of intoxication.

Attorney For DUI / OVI Cases Involving Sobriety Checkpoints

Our practice is focused on DUI / OVI defense, and we have represented many clients charged with DUI / OVI based on sobriety checkpoints in Columbus and Central Ohio. For more information about us, please see the firm overview. You can also read what our clients say and review our past case results. We limit the number of cases we accept so we can provide outstanding service to our clients. If you would like to discuss how we can help with your DUI / OVI case, EMAIL US or call us at 614-717-1177 to arrange a free consultation.

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"I was looking at a Physical control OVI charge. License suspension, 3 day class, all that. Shawn got it reduced to persistent disorderly conduct. I paid a fine, saw..." Y.E.