What Qualifies a Maryland DUI Checkpoint?

Maryland DUI checkpointsWhen you’re driving along and you see a police cruiser suddenly appear behind a shrub, around a corner, or down an alleyway, you have to wonder – are they just waiting there, watching and expecting for someone to make a serious mistake? The short answer is yes. The police have a duty to protect and serve, but when it comes to traffic violations, it’s also a matter of meeting quotas and filling the state’s coffers.

As such, when there is going to be a high volume of traffic citations issued, you’ll see a high volume of police. This gets especially common during the holidays when police use DUI checkpoints to sift though the drivers on the road in search of those who are driving under the influence or driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs

Maryland DUI checkpoints have to meet specific criteria in order for them to exist. These qualifications are intended to protect your rights while still allowing the checkpoints to function as intended. These include:

  1. A systemic, non-discriminatory, non-arbitrary checkpoint. What does this mean? It means that the checkpoint doesn’t check on and investigate those it stops based on any form of discrimination or arbitrary choice. It should use a fair and balanced system of search selection.
  2. The reason and purpose behind the checkpoint must be public safety. The checkpoint cannot be set up just to cause trouble or otherwise not serve the ultimate good of the public.
  3. Drivers must be made aware of the checkpoint well ahead of time in order to keep the amount of stress on the driver minimal. When drivers go through a checkpoint they can become incredibly nervous, making mistakes and perhaps doing something foolish. By notifying them of the oncoming checkpoint, they have time to relax.
  4. Drivers have to be given a chance to turn around if they don’t want to go through the checkpoint.
  5. The checkpoint has to be given the go-ahead by a senior-level member of the police force.

Given all of these protections, you don’t see checkpoints quite so often – but when you do, if you’re driving under the influence, there is a very good chance that they will catch you.   This can have a devastating effect on your personal and professional life – but fortunately, we’re here to help.

 

About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.