Sobriety Checkpoints: Effective Safety Tool or Violation of Rights?January 7th, 2008 by josh farley
Gov. Christine Gregoire is introducing legislation that aims to create so-called “sobriety checkpoints” along Washington highways, a move that will reignite debate in the state concerning said checkpoints’ constitutionality.
The governor’s plans were unveiled this afternoon and several stories have already been written by local media.
The checkpoints allow police to stop drivers en masse to determine if they’ve been drinking.
That would effectively allow police to blanket certain areas and get drunk drivers off the road. But it would also mean cops wouldn’t need probable cause to make an arrest for DUI, which some critics contend is a violation of privacy.
According to an Everett Herald story by Jackson Holtz, Washington is one of 10 states that does not do random DUI checkpoints. While they were upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990, the Washington state supreme court ruled them unconstitutional two years later, Holtz writes.
Here’s how the sides lined up, Holtz says:
Law enforcement officials and anti-drunken-driving advocates cheered the announcement while defense attorneys and motorists-rights groups said the roadblocks would limit personal freedoms and may be unconstitutional.
I’ll be following the governor’s plan. In the meantime, what do you think of the idea of having checkpoints?