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Are sobriety checkpoints legal in North Dakota?

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2022 | DUI

There are several ways that police officers might encounter someone who is under the influence on the roads. Police officers monitoring traffic may notice erratic driving and conduct a one-on-one traffic stop to evaluate someone for signs of alcohol impairment. Police officers responding to reports of a motor vehicle collision may also notice indications that one of the drivers involved consumed alcohol or drugs prior to the crash.

Sometimes, officers decide they would like to scrutinize a large number of people at once. They might shut down traffic on a busy road, possibly on a holiday weekend, and stop everyone to screen them for signs of intoxication. Are drunk driving roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints legal in North Dakota?

Yes, the state embraces the use of sobriety checkpoints

Both the state government and the municipal authorities in Fargo recognize sobriety checkpoints as a tool to help them prevent drunk driving and catch those violating state law.

Criminal defendants have challenged the validity of sobriety checkpoints in the past, and the federal Supreme Court has upheld their use when appropriately administered, noting that they are not a violation of someone’s constitutional rights. North Dakota utilizes sobriety checkpoints frequently in an effort to limit how many people lose their lives in drunk driving collisions.

Can you fight against a roadblock-related charge?

There are numerous defense strategies that can work for someone arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) at a North Dakota sobriety checkpoint. A careful review of the evidence against you and the circumstances leading to your arrest can help you settle on the best approach.

For example, there may be issues with the paperwork by the police department conducting the sobriety checkpoint that could help you challenge your arrest in criminal court. On the other hand, there may have been maintenance issues with the chemical breath test used. Inadequate maintenance or a failure to calibrate the device can compromise the accuracy of any test results returned.

No one defense strategy works for every drunk driving case, but there will generally be options available for anyone accused of impaired driving. Learning more about the North Dakota rules about DUI charges will make defending yourself in court a little easier.