DWI Checkpoints: Are They Legal in North Carolina?

Currently, 39 states allow sobriety checkpoints, also known as DWI checkpoints or roadblocks, which enable law enforcement to stop motor vehicles at random to determine if the driver is intoxicated. North Carolina is one of those states.

During a DWI checkpoint, drivers are briefly detained and interviewed. If a police officer has reasonable suspicion that the driver is under the influence, the driver is subject to sobriety tests. The purpose of these checkpoints is to arrest intoxicated drivers and make the roads safer. The locations for sobriety checkpoints are chosen at random.

Once the checkpoint is set up, police must either check all vehicles or stop vehicles on a random basis (i.e. every third, fifth, or eighth car). Officers must be looking for impaired drivers and evidence of motor vehicle-related crimes, not check of any other crimes.

While some states require that law enforcement must announce or publish the location of the checkpoint in advance, all that is required in North Carolina is that the checkpoint has visible, flashing blue lights.

Additionally, some states require that motorists have means to avoid a checkpoint if they place. However, police in North Carolina can stop a vehicle that has turned around to avoid a checkpoint.

If you have been stopped at a checkpoint and charged with a DWI, our Raleigh criminal defense attorneys at Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh can help. We can thoroughly evaluate your case and determine whether or not police violated your rights and help you get your entire case dismissed or your charges reduced.

For more information, contact us today. Get more than 50 years of combined legal experience on your side!


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