Are Drunk Driving Checkpoints a Good Idea?

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Avatar image for THE_DRUGGIE
#1 Posted by THE_DRUGGIE (25057 posts) -

For people who don't know, these checkpoints (commonly called Sobriety Checkpoints) are set up to catch drunk drivers. A common use of these would be in situations like sporting events or similar instances where large amounts of people gather and have an increased chance of driving home while inebriated.

On one hand, these checkpoints significantly reduce the potential for large amounts of drunk drivers to be allowed into traffic. Also, it has the potential to reduce accidents during holidays commonly associated with drinking alcohol. In summary, their intent is to ensure the public's safety on the road.

On the other hand, the Fourth Amendment states that no person shall be subject to unreasonable searches or seizures. Given that every car is stopped in a sobriety checkpoint, people are stopped without probable cause, which can be interpreted as a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment, regardless of any value to public safety.

Ultimately, the question is: are sobriety checkpoints too much of a violation of the Fourth Amendment or should they be used for the sake of public safety?

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#2 Posted by XilePrincess (13130 posts) -
I am ALL for sobriety checkpoints. You are NOT being searched when you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. Usually the officer just looks in your window, smells you and asks to see your license while doing it. If you fumble like a moron and aren't coherent, they then have probable cause to search your vehicle or ask you to take a blow test or walk a straight line. Drunk drivers should be taken off the road and I'm so happy when I see officers doing checkpoints. They're a slight inconvenience for drivers, yes, but they do take morons off the road and that saves way more lives.
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#3 Posted by Rich3232 (2628 posts) -
As long as they don't use it as an excuse to search your car. If, however, they have no probable cause and they still search your car/detain you, then I'm against that.
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#4 Posted by Fightingfan (38011 posts) -

They don't search or seizure the individual driving.

You don't have to roll down your window, or speak with the police -- but the car smelling like alcohol gives police officers probable cause to flip that car upside down.

I do wonder how dogs are legal though. 

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#5 Posted by THE_DRUGGIE (25057 posts) -

By the way, my state (Wisconsin) currently outlaws sobriety checkpoints and the argument against it is that they reduce civil liberties.

Just throwing that out there.

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#6 Posted by k2theswiss (16599 posts) -

i have no issue with it...

i been at few and everything they basicly greet them selfs say why they are there and ask you some random simple question that a 5 year would be able answer and say goonight.

i see people have to hand their driver licence but, i guess my state don't do that because, not once have they asked to see it 

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#7 Posted by GhettoBlastin92 (1231 posts) -
Why would anybody even have a problem with them? They are a great idea.
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#8 Posted by MrGeezer (59299 posts) -

They don't search or seizure the individual driving.

You don't have to roll down your window, or speak with the police -- but the car smelling like alcohol gives police officers probable cause to flip that car upside down.

I do wonder how dogs are legal though. 

Fightingfan
Why wouldn't dogs be legal?
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#9 Posted by Fightingfan (38011 posts) -
[QUOTE="Fightingfan"]

They don't search or seizure the individual driving.

You don't have to roll down your window, or speak with the police -- but the car smelling like alcohol gives police officers probable cause to flip that car upside down.

I do wonder how dogs are legal though. 

MrGeezer
Why wouldn't dogs be legal?

Because they search an individuals without consent. I can be minding my own business with a joint, and since the dog picks it up I go to jail. Normally I can't be searched for drugs unless I'm committing a crime, suspected of committing a crime, or there's probable cause.
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#10 Posted by Blueresident87 (5684 posts) -

If you don't drink and drive there is no problem.

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#11 Posted by mingmao3046 (2683 posts) -
Not a fan of checkpoints. Why dont the police just sit where the drivers will be going out, and they can look for shakey drivers?
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#12 Posted by MrGeezer (59299 posts) -
[QUOTE="Fightingfan"] Because they search an individuals without consent. I can be minding my own business with a joint, and since the dog picks it up I go to jail. Normally I can't be searched for drugs unless I'm committing a crime, suspected of committing a crime, or there's probable cause.

Yeah, except they don't search you and your vehicle until AFTER the dog picks up the scent. The dog doesn't start out in the car, it's outside, on the street, on city property. If it can pick up the scent from there, then there's probable cause to search you.
Avatar image for THE_DRUGGIE
#13 Posted by THE_DRUGGIE (25057 posts) -

They don't search or seizure the individual driving.

Fightingfan

Technically, they seize the individual by having them stop at the checkpoint for the duration of the brief investigation.

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#14 Posted by DJ-Lafleur (35549 posts) -

I have nothing against checkpoints. 

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#15 Posted by sexyweapons (5302 posts) -

By the way, my state (Wisconsin) currently outlaws sobriety checkpoints and the argument against it is that they reduce civil liberties.

Just throwing that out there.

THE_DRUGGIE
Must be Ron Paul supporters.
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#16 Posted by hartsickdiscipl (14787 posts) -

No.  They are unconstitutional.  No amount of "but it saves lives" talk can change that.  Pulling over specific drivers who seem to be driving dangerously and potentially drunkenly is a great idea.  That saves lives while still protecting people's rights.  

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#17 Posted by MrPraline (21351 posts) -
[QUOTE="THE_DRUGGIE"]

By the way, my state (Wisconsin) currently outlaws sobriety checkpoints and the argument against it is that they reduce civil liberties.

Just throwing that out there.

sexyweapons
Must be Ron Paul supporters.

Haha. Dr. Paul must be proud of the fact that in 2013 lovers of personal liberty are all colloquially referred to as Paul Supporters.
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#18 Posted by Ring_of_fire (15756 posts) -
Yes, I agree with them.
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#19 Posted by MrPraline (21351 posts) -

No.  They are unconstitutional.  No amount of "but it saves lives" talk can change that.  Pulling over specific drivers who seem to be driving dangerously and potentially drunkenly is a great idea.  That saves lives while still protecting people's rights.  

hartsickdiscipl
Yeah, definitely. That would be what's done in an ideal world. But sadly that takes effort and finesse. For a government that couldn't care less, the illusion of security is good enough.
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#20 Posted by hartsickdiscipl (14787 posts) -

[QUOTE="hartsickdiscipl"]

No.  They are unconstitutional.  No amount of "but it saves lives" talk can change that.  Pulling over specific drivers who seem to be driving dangerously and potentially drunkenly is a great idea.  That saves lives while still protecting people's rights.  

MrPraline

Yeah, definitely. That would be what's done in an ideal world. But sadly that takes effort and finesse. For a government that couldn't care less, the illusion of security is good enough.

 

Not good enough for me.  Checkpoints are blatantly unconstitutional.  Where is the probable cause?

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#21 Posted by DroidPhysX (17098 posts) -

Would be a waste of cash and man power.

Pull over, they ask you if you had a drink, you refuse to answer citing constitutional rights, they have no probable cause and can't do sh!t.

Only dumbasses answer yes to that question.

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#22 Posted by MrPraline (21351 posts) -

[QUOTE="MrPraline"][QUOTE="hartsickdiscipl"]

No.  They are unconstitutional.  No amount of "but it saves lives" talk can change that.  Pulling over specific drivers who seem to be driving dangerously and potentially drunkenly is a great idea.  That saves lives while still protecting people's rights.  

hartsickdiscipl

Yeah, definitely. That would be what's done in an ideal world. But sadly that takes effort and finesse. For a government that couldn't care less, the illusion of security is good enough.

 

Not good enough for me.  Checkpoints are blatantly unconstitutional.  Where is the probable cause?

Oh I agree 100% with you on this. Was only cynically describing my view on the government's thought process.
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#23 Posted by hartsickdiscipl (14787 posts) -

Would be a waste of cash and man power.

Pull over, they ask you if you had a drink, you refuse to answer citing constitutional rights, they have no probable cause and can't do sh!t.

Only dumbasses answer yes to that question.

DroidPhysX

 

What happens if the person has had a drink or 2, and it's on their breath?

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#24 Posted by hartsickdiscipl (14787 posts) -

[QUOTE="hartsickdiscipl"]

[QUOTE="MrPraline"] Yeah, definitely. That would be what's done in an ideal world. But sadly that takes effort and finesse. For a government that couldn't care less, the illusion of security is good enough. MrPraline

 

Not good enough for me.  Checkpoints are blatantly unconstitutional.  Where is the probable cause?

Oh I agree 100% with you on this. Was only cynically describing my view on the government's thought process.

 

Yeah.. That's probably not far off the truth.  

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#25 Posted by Guppy507 (17401 posts) -
They can already pull you over at their discretion, why do they need checkpoints?
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#26 Posted by Gen007 (11006 posts) -

They are a good idea i mean if your not drunk driving then whats the problem? You'll be on your way quick. You start bringing up all this 4th amendment crap and what not and clearly your trying to hide something or just being a d bag.

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#27 Posted by Nonstop-Madness (9869 posts) -

No.  They are unconstitutional.  No amount of "but it saves lives" talk can change that.  Pulling over specific drivers who seem to be driving dangerously and potentially drunkenly is a great idea.  That saves lives while still protecting people's rights.  

hartsickdiscipl
Sorry to say this but the Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints meet the Fourth Amendments standard of "reasonable search and seizure", although it's illegal in some states.
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#28 Posted by MonoSilver (1392 posts) -
Yes they are.
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#29 Posted by redstorm72 (4646 posts) -

I have no problem with them. I have been stopped at checkpoints several times and the officers have always been friendly and respectful. Heck, one time I had an open case of beer in the back seat (my friends had been drinking in the car) and the cop was super cool about it and put the case in the trunk for me. I don't really see how it infringes upon your rights as it is not really a "right" to drive, so a cop stopping me to check if I'm following the rules doesn't seem like that big  a deal to me.

Avatar image for hartsickdiscipl
#30 Posted by hartsickdiscipl (14787 posts) -

[QUOTE="hartsickdiscipl"]

No.  They are unconstitutional.  No amount of "but it saves lives" talk can change that.  Pulling over specific drivers who seem to be driving dangerously and potentially drunkenly is a great idea.  That saves lives while still protecting people's rights.  

Nonstop-Madness

Sorry to say this but the Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints meet the Fourth Amendments standard of "reasonable search and seizure", although it's illegal in some states.

 

The Supreme Court missed the boat.  What happened to probable cause?  

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#31 Posted by hartsickdiscipl (14787 posts) -

I have no problem with them. I have been stopped at checkpoints several times and the officers have always been friendly and respectful. Heck, one time I had an open case of beer in the back seat (my friends had been drinking in the car) and the cop was super cool about it and put the case in the trunk for me. I don't really see how it infringes upon your rights as it is not really a "right" to drive, so a cop stopping me to check if I'm following the rules doesn't seem like that big  a deal to me.

redstorm72

 

We (taxpayers) pay for the roads.  Then we pay for the cars.  Then we pay for the insurance to drive the cars on the roads.  How would it not be a "right" to drive?  I'm not asking for someone else's answer.  I'm asking for you to look at that picture and tell me how it's not a right.  

Avatar image for THE_DRUGGIE
#32 Posted by THE_DRUGGIE (25057 posts) -

[QUOTE="redstorm72"]

I have no problem with them. I have been stopped at checkpoints several times and the officers have always been friendly and respectful. Heck, one time I had an open case of beer in the back seat (my friends had been drinking in the car) and the cop was super cool about it and put the case in the trunk for me. I don't really see how it infringes upon your rights as it is not really a "right" to drive, so a cop stopping me to check if I'm following the rules doesn't seem like that big  a deal to me.

hartsickdiscipl

 

We (taxpayers) pay for the roads.  Then we pay for the cars.  Then we pay for the insurance to drive the cars on the roads.  How would it not be a "right" to drive?  I'm not asking for someone else's answer.  I'm asking for you to look at that picture and tell me how it's not a right.  

I'm gonna answer you anyway:

Yeah, taxes go to roads.

...you can get a private dealer for the car, though. Erm, and insurance companies are private (I know Canada has a public option, but the US doesn't).

Considering all that, you have the right to GO on the road, but not really DRIVE on the road. That's a priviledge that can be taken away if you do too many stupid things like, I dunno, drive with seven shots of whiskey in you and mow down schoolchildren. I think it's pretty reasonable to not allow someone who does that to drive ever again, by the way.

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#33 Posted by Fightingfan (38011 posts) -

[QUOTE="Fightingfan"]

They don't search or seizure the individual driving.

THE_DRUGGIE

Technically, they seize the individual by having them stop at the checkpoint for the duration of the brief investigation.

Just say "I don't want to answer any questions", and you don't have to provide a license unless you've committed a traffic offense. An officer can detain you for an hour just because.
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#34 Posted by redstorm72 (4646 posts) -

[QUOTE="redstorm72"]

I have no problem with them. I have been stopped at checkpoints several times and the officers have always been friendly and respectful. Heck, one time I had an open case of beer in the back seat (my friends had been drinking in the car) and the cop was super cool about it and put the case in the trunk for me. I don't really see how it infringes upon your rights as it is not really a "right" to drive, so a cop stopping me to check if I'm following the rules doesn't seem like that big  a deal to me.

hartsickdiscipl

 

We (taxpayers) pay for the roads.  Then we pay for the cars.  Then we pay for the insurance to drive the cars on the roads.  How would it not be a "right" to drive?  I'm not asking for someone else's answer.  I'm asking for you to look at that picture and tell me how it's not a right.  

Having a drivers license is not a right, you have to earn it and it can be taken away. It seems pretty reasonable considering how dangerous motor vehicles can be. Just because you can own something (such as a car) it does not give you the right to use it in public. Besides, as far as I'm aware, the American constitution does not have a "right to drive motor vehicles" section.

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#35 Posted by THE_DRUGGIE (25057 posts) -

[QUOTE="THE_DRUGGIE"]

[QUOTE="Fightingfan"]

They don't search or seizure the individual driving.

Fightingfan

Technically, they seize the individual by having them stop at the checkpoint for the duration of the brief investigation.

Just say "I don't want to answer any questions", and you don't have to provide a license unless you've committed a traffic offense. An officer can detain you for an hour just because.

But if I say I don't want to answer any questions, they'll detain me for an hour.

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#36 Posted by Fightingfan (38011 posts) -

[QUOTE="Fightingfan"] Because they search an individuals without consent. I can be minding my own business with a joint, and since the dog picks it up I go to jail. Normally I can't be searched for drugs unless I'm committing a crime, suspected of committing a crime, or there's probable cause. MrGeezer
Yeah, except they don't search you and your vehicle until AFTER the dog picks up the scent. The dog doesn't start out in the car, it's outside, on the street, on city property. If it can pick up the scent from there, then there's probable cause to search you.

I still don't understand what makes it different than having a random search by a human.

I don't have to consent to random searches by a human, but a dog changes the whole scenario.

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#37 Posted by Fightingfan (38011 posts) -

[QUOTE="Fightingfan"][QUOTE="THE_DRUGGIE"]

Technically, they seize the individual by having them stop at the checkpoint for the duration of the brief investigation.

THE_DRUGGIE

Just say "I don't want to answer any questions", and you don't have to provide a license unless you've committed a traffic offense. An officer can detain you for an hour just because.

But if I say I don't want to answer any questions, they'll detain me for an hour.

But if you you have consumed alcohol you won't go to jail (You can be over the legal limit and not drunk). Pretty much officers arrest individuals because they're ignorant and incriminate themselves.
Avatar image for THE_DRUGGIE
#38 Posted by THE_DRUGGIE (25057 posts) -

[QUOTE="THE_DRUGGIE"]

[QUOTE="Fightingfan"] Just say "I don't want to answer any questions", and you don't have to provide a license unless you've committed a traffic offense. An officer can detain you for an hour just because. Fightingfan

But if I say I don't want to answer any questions, they'll detain me for an hour.

But if you you have consumed alcohol you won't go to jail (You can be over the legal limit and not drunk). Pretty much officers arrest individuals because they're ignorant and incriminate themselves.

Wait, wait, wait, can't being over the legal limit be enough evidence of being over the legal limit and being legally (not on your subjective definition of such) drunk? They tell you to do the breath test so they can get that information if they smell the stuff on your breath, but you can refuse and have yourself detained for refusing to cooperate. Then you have to sit there detained for an even longer time because you incriminated yourself and would be pressured further into doing tests to determine if you were over the limit.

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#39 Posted by MrGeezer (59299 posts) -

I still don't understand what makes it different than having a random search by a human.

I don't have to consent to random searches by a human, but a dog changes the whole scenario.

Fightingfan
Again, you're still not getting searched until AFTER the officer or the dog smells something on you. The search isn't random at all. Random would be if the officer was already searching you and then smelled booze or pot or whatever.
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#40 Posted by hartsickdiscipl (14787 posts) -

[QUOTE="hartsickdiscipl"]

[QUOTE="redstorm72"]

I have no problem with them. I have been stopped at checkpoints several times and the officers have always been friendly and respectful. Heck, one time I had an open case of beer in the back seat (my friends had been drinking in the car) and the cop was super cool about it and put the case in the trunk for me. I don't really see how it infringes upon your rights as it is not really a "right" to drive, so a cop stopping me to check if I'm following the rules doesn't seem like that big  a deal to me.

THE_DRUGGIE

 

We (taxpayers) pay for the roads.  Then we pay for the cars.  Then we pay for the insurance to drive the cars on the roads.  How would it not be a "right" to drive?  I'm not asking for someone else's answer.  I'm asking for you to look at that picture and tell me how it's not a right.  

I'm gonna answer you anyway:

Yeah, taxes go to roads.

...you can get a private dealer for the car, though. Erm, and insurance companies are private (I know Canada has a public option, but the US doesn't).

Considering all that, you have the right to GO on the road, but not really DRIVE on the road. That's a priviledge that can be taken away if you do too many stupid things like, I dunno, drive with seven shots of whiskey in you and mow down schoolchildren. I think it's pretty reasonable to not allow someone who does that to drive ever again, by the way.

 

 

"You have a right to go on the road, but not to drive on it?"  For some reason that reminds me of something Bill Clinton might have said.  "I did not inhale."

Seriously, we're not talking about punishing criminals here.  We're talking about shutting down a road and turning it into a general inquisition of everyone who happens to be driving on it.  Sorry, that's not ok.  What's the justification?  Because there is a chance you might catch someone who is drunk?  You might also catch someone with pink underwear on.  If it's a crime, target them.  Don't accost everyone and hope you get lucky.  

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#41 Posted by hartsickdiscipl (14787 posts) -

[QUOTE="hartsickdiscipl"]

[QUOTE="redstorm72"]

I have no problem with them. I have been stopped at checkpoints several times and the officers have always been friendly and respectful. Heck, one time I had an open case of beer in the back seat (my friends had been drinking in the car) and the cop was super cool about it and put the case in the trunk for me. I don't really see how it infringes upon your rights as it is not really a "right" to drive, so a cop stopping me to check if I'm following the rules doesn't seem like that big  a deal to me.

redstorm72

 

We (taxpayers) pay for the roads.  Then we pay for the cars.  Then we pay for the insurance to drive the cars on the roads.  How would it not be a "right" to drive?  I'm not asking for someone else's answer.  I'm asking for you to look at that picture and tell me how it's not a right.  

Having a drivers license is not a right, you have to earn it and it can be taken away. It seems pretty reasonable considering how dangerous motor vehicles can be. Just because you can own something (such as a car) it does not give you the right to use it in public. Besides, as far as I'm aware, the American constitution does not have a "right to drive motor vehicles" section.

 

 

Once I earn my driver's license and have paid for the roads, the car, and the required insurance, I have a right to travel.  We do have a right to travel.  Since I am a taxpayer who finances the roads, I have a right to travel on those roads unmolested unless I give cause to target me, specifically.  

Avatar image for THE_DRUGGIE
#42 Posted by THE_DRUGGIE (25057 posts) -

[QUOTE="THE_DRUGGIE"]

[QUOTE="hartsickdiscipl"]

 

We (taxpayers) pay for the roads.  Then we pay for the cars.  Then we pay for the insurance to drive the cars on the roads.  How would it not be a "right" to drive?  I'm not asking for someone else's answer.  I'm asking for you to look at that picture and tell me how it's not a right.  

hartsickdiscipl

I'm gonna answer you anyway:

Yeah, taxes go to roads.

...you can get a private dealer for the car, though. Erm, and insurance companies are private (I know Canada has a public option, but the US doesn't).

Considering all that, you have the right to GO on the road, but not really DRIVE on the road. That's a priviledge that can be taken away if you do too many stupid things like, I dunno, drive with seven shots of whiskey in you and mow down schoolchildren. I think it's pretty reasonable to not allow someone who does that to drive ever again, by the way.

 

 

"You have a right to go on the road, but not to drive on it?"  For some reason that reminds me of something Bill Clinton might have said.  "I did not inhale."

Seriously, we're not talking about punishing criminals here.  We're talking about shutting down a road and turning it into a general inquisition of everyone who happens to be driving on it.  Sorry, that's not ok.  What's the justification?  Because there is a chance you might catch someone who is drunk?  You might also catch someone with pink underwear on.  If it's a crime, target them.  Don't accost everyone and hope you get lucky.  

You've never been to a sporting event, have you? There's a crapload of people who go home from games drunk (it's REALLY bad after a Packer game, trust me) and I think stopping them from driving would be the best thing to do. Unfortunately, there would have to be a crapload of cops around to catch the guys who are clearly drunk and walking to their cars, so a checkpoint streamlines this.

If you want to reduce drunk driving after sporting events without using checkpoints, but still want their effectiveness, get ready to have cops crawling everywhere instead of having a handful check on people driving by.

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#43 Posted by WhiteKnight77 (12605 posts) -

Once I earn my driver's license and have paid for the roads, the car, and the required insurance, I have a right to travel.  We do have a right to travel.  Since I am a taxpayer who finances the roads, I have a right to travel on those roads unmolested unless I give cause to target me, specifically.  

hartsickdiscipl

'

Do you have any concept of implied consent? You gave consent to be stopped on a public road at a sobriety checkpoint when you applied for a driver's license. You also gave such consent to be presented with and required to do field sobriety tests and a breathalyser test if pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving. It matters not if you are buying gas (the taxes for that pay for roads, not some other tax you seem to have stuck in your head) or own a car, you can't drive a car without the privilege of having a license that allows you to drive that car. A car is useless if you do not have that privilege and to get that privilege, you consent to what may transpire on public streets.

 

 

 

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#44 Posted by Rattlesnake_8 (18452 posts) -
We have them in Australia and they are REALLY annoying. Even if your sober the police ask you personal questions and try to harrass you if your a younger driver. Even if your driving a normal vehicle (no modifications) and doing nothing wrong.
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#45 Posted by Palantas (15327 posts) -

The only place the cops should be setting up any sort of checkpoint is on private property where they are asked to do so. No one should be stopped without cause by police in a public place.

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#46 Posted by lamprey263 (35005 posts) -
I think on most occasions cops aren't going to do any field sobriety tests unless they feel there's cause, like smelling alcohol, or depending on drivers behavior speech and such, in that case there is cause for them to request a breathalyzer test, now the driver doesn't have to consent to such a test, but refusing to do so can result in a suspension of their driving privileges.
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#47 Posted by surrealnumber5 (23044 posts) -
drunk driving checkpoints, just a little rape, kinda, a lot, like the TSA.
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#48 Posted by tenaka2 (17054 posts) -

They are a good thing.

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#49 Posted by LJS9502_basic (163066 posts) -
On the one hand I can see the good intent.....on the other I'm definitely against detaining anyone that hasn't given probable cause. And if they haven't been noticed for possible DUI...then there is no probable cause.
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#50 Posted by leviathan91 (7763 posts) -

This is a though question. Although individual rights are important, sobriety checkpoints have proven successful (according to Wikipedia). However, police must have probable cause to search a person/car so they can't just randomly decide what car to search and this has always been the case since before we had cars. The police must have probable cause or if you decide to let them.

Really I think the person should be aware of what his/her rights are so they do not allow the police to search without a warrant or to incriminate themselves.