Can Nebraska police departments conduct DUI checkpoints?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Drunk Driving |

Some types of law enforcement activity violate the law or the civil rights of individuals. For example, mass enforcement efforts might violate someone’s right to be free from unreasonable searches. Particularly when police officers indiscriminately detain people or search people without cause, their conduct could be a violation of people’s rights.

It is common to question the legality of blanket attempts at enforcing the law, especially if those efforts lead to someone’s arrest. Checkpoints are potentially very efficient ways to screen people for impairment while driving and other issues, such as a lack of insurance or an expired license. Screening for chemical intoxication is a common reason for police departments to set up checkpoints. Police officers could find dozens of people in a short amount of time who may have committed a driving under the influence (DUI) offense.

Nebraska permits DUI checkpoints

Sobriety roadblocks or DUI checkpoints do not violate the Constitution. The United States Supreme Court has previously ruled on this issue and affirmed that police departments can lawfully conduct checkpoints if they abide by certain rules. Those rules include minimizing the inconvenience to everyone stopped and conducting the checkpoint for a specific purpose.

In Nebraska, DUI roadblocks are relatively common enforcement tools. Police departments may choose roads with high volumes of traffic or days with increased drunk driving crash risk, such as when there are major events like collegiate sports events or holidays. They may also simply conduct random checkpoints, often on weekends, to both catch impaired drivers and deter people from getting behind the wheel after drinking.

While it isn’t feasible to fight a Nebraska DUI charge by claiming that a checkpoint is unconstitutional, officers must still abide by a number of rules regarding both paperwork for conducting checkpoints and how they act toward the people they stop. There are a variety of potential defense strategies that may work for those arrested at a sobriety checkpoint, as opposed to after a crash or during a one-on-one traffic stop.

Fighting DUI charges requires careful preparation and an understanding of the law. Motorists who know that sobriety checkpoints are legal can use that information to influence their defense strategy as they begin preparing for trial.