New Hampshire DWI Checkpoint
New Hampshire police departments often use driving while intoxicated (DWI) checkpoints as a tool to catch intoxicated drivers. Due to some of the legal questions regarding the use of roadblocks, you should immediately contact an experienced DWI defense attorney if you were recently arrested after being stopped at a New Hampshire DWI checkpoint.
DWI checkpoints are quite controversial. While their critics believe that roadblocks constitute illegal search and seizure, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that DWI checkpoints are not a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights. However, the Supreme Court has issued specific guidelines on how DWI checkpoints should be conducted in order to minimize the infringement of personal rights.
In order for a police department to conduct a DWI checkpoint, the decision must be made in advance by superior officers—it cannot be conducted at the spur of the moment by a group of officers on patrol duty. To maximize the deterrent effect of a checkpoint, it must also be publicized in advance.
Before the DWI checkpoint commences, the officers must decide the manner in which vehicles will be stopped (i.e., every car, every third car, etc.). When a driver is stopped at a DWI checkpoint, the officer will ask for his or her license and registration. The officer may ask questions regarding where the driver came from, where he or she is are going, and whether he or she had anything to drink. Please keep in mind that you are only obligated to answer questions regarding your identity and address.
If the officer believes that a driver is impaired, he or she may ask the driver to step out of the vehicle to perform a series of field sobriety tests. If the driver fails these tests, he or she may also be asked to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. A DWI arrest can be made if the driver tests over the legal limit.
Being charged with drunk driving is a difficult experience; however, there are several defenses that can be used if your arrest occurred at a DWI checkpoint.