A joint effort by several law enforcement agencies in Pitt County recently used a sobriety checkpoint to bring charges against 95 drivers in Greenville, North Carolina. The Greenville Police Department, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, along with police from East Carolina University, the North Carolina Highway Patrol and officers from the Ayden, Grifton and Vidant police departments joined together to run a DWI checkpoint on Allen Road in Greenville recently. Law enforcement plans to use checkpoints again in the future.
Authorities say that six people were arrested at the recent Greenville, North Carolina checkpoint on suspicion of driving while impaired. However, police say that another 89 drivers are facing a variety of other charges based upon the use of the DWI checkpoint.
Authorities say that 17 people were found to be driving with a revoked license during the roadblock check. A dozen were allegedly found to be driving without a valid license. Police accuse a number of people of a variety of traffic offenses–several people are facing drug charges, and other felony arrests were also made in the law enforcement effort to enforce DWI laws.
Not all states allow law enforcement to conduct sobriety checkpoints. Most North Carolina drivers are aware the DWI checkpoints are used throughout the state to enforce North Carolina drunk driving laws. Some out-of-state visitors, or students who study in North Carolina, may be surprised that DWI checkpoints are used in the state, especially those out-of-state drivers who hail from the states that have outlawed sobriety checkpoints.
The United States Supreme Court says that the use of checkpoints to enforce DWI laws is constitutional as long as the roadblocks are conducted with proper safeguards to protect the integrity of the law enforcement action.
In other words, a checkpoint cannot be set up and run at the whim of law enforcement, but when properly conducted, a DWI checkpoint may be constitutionally sound, according to the nation’s highest court (some of the states that do not allow sobriety checkpoints do not allow the roadblocks under state constitutional protections).
However, just because North Carolina generally allows for sobriety checkpoints, drivers accused of DWI should not be shy to contact a DWI defense lawyer regarding the allegations involved in an individual case.
Source: WNCT, “Greenville DWI check nets 95 violations, including 6 DWI’s,” Jonathan Rodriguez, updated March 4, 2013