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Drunk Driving Sobriety Checkpoints

  1. Visibility of Police Authority —The visibility of uniformed officers and their marked police vehicles makes the power of the police presence obvious and serves to reassure motorists of the legitimate nature of the activity. This is an important aspect of any safety checkpoint. This is also part of the effort to reduce the intrusion to the passing motorists who will be affected by the checkpoint surveillance.
  2. Chemical Test Logistics — Since DWI arrests are to he anticipated at the selected location, the logistics of chemical testing must also be included. A system for expeditiously transporting suspected violators to chemical test sites must be established.
  3. Contingency Planning — If intermittent traffic conditions cause the officers to stray from the predetermined order of selecting motorists to stop (e.g., if a traffic backup occurs), the reasons for the departure must he thoroughly documented. Courts have allowed this deviation as long as records are kept documenting the necessity to deviate from the interview sequence. United States v. Prichard, 645 F.2d 854. If such an event occurs, jurisdictions must have prepared alternative plans in advance to handle the checkpoint. If to much traffic develops at a checkpoint, causing a backup that cannot be easily alleviated, the officer in charge of the checkpoint may consider discontinuing operation at that site and moving to an alternative site. The alternative site should have been identified in advance in the administrative order that first established the checkpoint surveillance, and should be prepared for operation.