Drunk driving charges can carry substantial life changing penalties. If one is convicted for drunk driving, large fines, driver’s license revocation and jail sentences can follow. In the cases of a second or third DWI, jail time might span years. This is why it is important to have solid criminal defense when facing drinking and driving charges.
Before one is even convicted of a DWI, police officers must have proper evidence with which to charge a driver. In most cases, an officer cannot stop an individual without first having reasonable suspicion that the driver is in fact breaking the law. However, in certain circumstances, some courts, including those in the state of Texas have granted law enforcement the right to set up DWI checkpoints. These checkpoints do not abide by typical individual suspicion requirements. This means that anyone going through the checkpoint, whether it appears they are breaking the law or not, must stop and be interrogated by officers.
One Texas police deputy is now urging lawmakers to take these checkpoints even further. The deputy is asking legislators to permit the checkpoints to be permanent. The checkpoints would be set up in certain DWI hotspots. It’s unclear at this point whether lawmakers will grant such a request.
There is certainly a question as to whether such a law would be constitutional or effective. Permanent checkpoints would be a constant free for all for police to stop anyone they please at any given time. This risks racial profiling and more. Additionally, a checkpoint set up in a permanent location could likely become a vacant lot instead of a well-used road. Whether or not they are breaking the law, most individuals would avoid a DWI checkpoint if they knew the location in advance. This is due to the mere inconvenience a checkpoint brings. Texas residents will see whether lawmakers agree with the deputy this legislative session.
Source: Sfgate.com, “Texas deputy police chief wants DWI checkpoints,” Dec. 4, 2012