As we move toward the Memorial Holiday weekend, law enforcement in North Carolina is working on its plans for summer enforcement of the state’s drunk driving laws. North Carolina law allows authorities to conduct checkpoints aimed at catching drivers who are allegedly driving while impaired. Often, the state may bring in what many North Carolina residents recognize as the BATMobile, a mobile unit with breath testing machines, and facilities that include the availability of an on-site magistrate to process DWI charges.
North Carolina officials say that the Highway Patrol and other agencies, including the Wildlife Resources Commission and the Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement, will be setting up DWI checkpoints near parks and water recreation areas across the state during the summer months.
Enforcement efforts will be especially focused on the three big summer holidays, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Each year, the state runs DWI enforcement campaigns during the holidays, as well as at random times throughout the year.
Later this month, state officials plan to kick-off the summer DWI enforcement season surrounding the Memorial Day weekend. The campaign, dubbed “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive,” is slated for kick-off May 24. Needless to say, DWI checkpoints and saturation patrols may arise in other areas not associated with parks and recreational areas.
Troopers and other law enforcement agents plan to set up sobriety checkpoints to enforce DWI laws. However, followers of this blog may recognize that a wide variety of allegations can arise during a DWI checkpoint, ranging from a variety of alleged traffic offenses, to allegations of felony-level offenses as cars pass through a checkpoint.
Years ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints do not necessarily violate the constitutional guarantees prohibiting unreasonable government intrusion. However, the high court did not suggest that DWI checkpoints can never be individually found to be unconstitutional.
The justices say that a checkpoint can become overly intrusive to the level of a constitutional violation if conducted without proper safeguards to protect individual rights. Any constitutional level issue may involve complex legal principles. A person accused of a crime may speak with a criminal defense lawyer for assistance in defending against the charge.
Source: The Herald-Sun, “Highway Patrol plans DWI checkpoints near boating areas,” Keith Upchurch, May 13, 2013