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DUI checkpoints, the good and the bad

DUI checkpoints, the good and the bad

Residents of West Virginia may be familiar with DUI checkpoints. They often pop up around major holidays. This time of year there may be more DUI checkpoints than usual, as holiday parties are carried on throughout the month. What few people may realize is that law enforcement agencies are permitted to set up these checkpoints on a weekly basis.

DUI checkpoints do serve a valuable purpose. Law enforcement officers are charged with keeping roads safe for everyone, and these checkpoints certainly help with this matter. Unfortunately, there are those who may feel they are being unfairly targeted simply because police are looking for any sign -- big or small -- of impairment.

At a DUI checkpoint, officers will stop every car coming down a specific street. If authorities feel it is necessary, field sobriety and/or Breathalyzer tests are administered. Those who fail are taken into custody. If any other issues are noted, such as drivers without licenses or driving on suspended licenses, citations may be written. Hundreds of cars will typically pass through a checkpoint, and this can result in numerous individuals being arrested or cited.

The bad thing about DUI checkpoints is that officers may feel more inclined to see something that isn't really there. Field sobriety tests are very subjective in nature, so failing one of these tests is based on an officer's opinion. Fighting the results of tests performed at DUI checkpoints in West Virginia is possible. This may be done by reviewing video footage and police reports. If any errors are found in testing procedure or with final results, DUI charges may be reduced or dismissed entirely.

Source: ghsa.org, "State Sobriety Checkpoint Laws", Accessed on Dec. 14, 2015

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