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Can you challenge the legality of sobriety checkpoints?

Targeted enforcement plays a big role in public safety on the roads. Police officers have training that can help them identify the habits of those under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Officers patrolling traffic can conduct traffic stops when someone’s behavior at the wheel creates a reasonable suspicion that they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Traffic patrols may lead to drunk driving arrests, but there are obvious limitations on how many traffic stops a single officer or even an entire department can perform using individual enforcement. With drunk driving still a major contributing factor to many fatal crashes every year, the police have a marked interest in deterring impaired driving.

Sobriety roadblocks or drunk driving checkpoints allow police officers to stop every vehicle on a specific section of road. They may target areas close to popular venues after big events. Holidays are also a popular time for sobriety checkpoints.

If you get pulled over and arrested because of a sobriety checkpoint, can you fight your arrest because of how the police pulled you over?

Sobriety checkpoints are legal in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire

Some people have long believed that sobriety checkpoints are unfair and unreasonable. Court cases have determined that federal rules and the Constitution allow for sobriety checkpoints. However, some states have state-level rules that make sobriety checkpoints a violation of the law or someone’s rights.

Although New Hampshire lawmakers have in recent years introduced a bill intended to make sobriety checkpoints illegal, it died after its introduction and never went to vote. Although the law could change at any point, currently, police officers in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire can conduct sobriety checkpoints with proper authorization and appropriate practices. They can arrest anyone who fails or refuses chemical testing at those checkpoints.

Even if you can’t challenge the checkpoint, you can still defend yourself

Challenging the legality of the checkpoint may not be a viable means of fighting your pending criminal charges. However, providing a medical explanation for your field tests or challenging the accuracy of the breath test administered to you could help you avoid a conviction.

Reviewing evidence against you can be an important step toward developing a defense against drunk driving charges.