Understanding DWI Police Searches
DWI Searches at Sobriety Checkpoints
During a typical stop at a sobriety checkpoint, police officers will inspect drivers as well as the interior of cars for signs of the driver’s intoxication. The detention of a driver at a sobriety checkpoint constitutes the “seizure” of a person for Fourth Amendment purposes. New York courts have addressed the constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints in the case of People v. Scott. The New York Court of Appeals in this case held that a sobriety checkpoint was constitutional since it was temporary in nature and had a high deterrent effect. The constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints has also been upheld in some states where the police in the area know that certain crimes (such as DWI offenses) have occurred there before and thus have probable cause to believe these crimes will be committed there again.
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