Sobriety Checkpoints Explained

Many clients seeking the help of a DUI lawyer do so after being caught in a police checkpoint. Understandably, these clients have questions about the legality of these checkpoints and what their rights are when they face charges stemming from them. In Virginia, sobriety checkpoints are legal, provided police follow certain procedures when stopping cars. If it turns out the police violated these rules, it is possible to have the evidence against you thrown out and the charges dropped. An experienced attorney will review the facts of your case and let you know if such violations occurred.

Rules for Sobriety Checkpoints in Virginia

Checkpoints are legal in Virginia provided the police do the following:

  • Must be announced to the public beforehand
  • Not all cars can be stopped
  • Cars must be stopped due to a predetermined formula
  • Police cannot indefinitely detain a person

For instance, police must stop every third car instead of selectively choosing which cars to stop or simply stopping everyone. This is done to ensure that Virginia citizens are not subjected to illegal search and seizure, which is illegal under the Fourth Amendment. If it can be shown that police arbitrarily selected you to be searched instead of sticking to their procedure, it can be shown the stop was illegal. This can be the difference between a serious conviction and walking away a free person.