Sobriety checkpoints have become an important tool in allowing law enforcement
officers to arrest drivers under suspicion of
DUI / DWI. While they are used throughout the state of Missouri and the nation,
checkpoints have long raised concerns about whether they go too far in
subjecting citizens to investigatory stops and violate drivers’
right to be free from
unlawful search and seizure. Still, courts have ruled that DWI checkpoints are constitutional as long
as officers conduct themselves in accordance to the law.
If a newly proposed bill passes, DWI checkpoints could become a thing of
the past in Missouri. Under House Bill 4, sobriety checkpoints would no
longer receive funding through federal grants, placing additional financial
strains on law enforcement to come up with the $20 million in economic
aid. In replacement of checkpoints, the bill calls for additional funding
for saturation patrols.
Saturation patrols are another commonly used law enforcement tactic in
which more officers working the beat make DWI enforcement a priority.
Typically, these officers are part of a DWI Task Force, and will patrol
areas known for drinking and driving, such as near bars and restaurants.
They will also focus on looking for signs of driver impairment, such as
swerving, at times when risks for drunk driving accidents are highest,
such as at night and in the early morning hours.
According to lawmakers backing the bill, saturation patrols are more effective
than DWI checkpoints, as they put more officers in the field rather than
stationing them in one location, which drivers have the right to avoid.
They also cite that while the Supreme Court of the United States ruled
sobriety checkpoints constitutional nearly 30 years ago, stopping and
temporarily detaining drivers without justifiable cause is contradictory
to our criminal laws. The bills is currently being considered by members
of the state house.
Whether you were arrested for a DWI at a checkpoint or after being pulled
over, it is important to remember that DWIs are serious crimes with substantial
penalties. These penalties, including hefty fines, probation, and terms
of imprisonment, can also be greatly elevated when there are aggravating
factors present in a case, such as high BAC levels, prior convictions,
To fight the charges and penalties you face when being charged with DWI,
and to fight to protect your driving privileges, you can work with a St.
Louis DWI lawyer from The Hammer Law Firm, LLC. Our legal team is helmed
by two former prosecutors who use decades of combined experience gained
on both sides of the courtroom to help clients secure the best resolution possible.
If you would like to discuss your case personally with an attorney from
contact us for a FREE and confidential consultation.