Those of you out of the road after 11:00 pm the last few weeks have probably noticed congested traffic and delays due to some of the check points throughout the Summit, and Portage County areas. We have been told that these check points are going to continue throughout the summer so be careful.
Sobriety checkpoints function as a general purpose investigatory tactic where police can get a close look at passing motorists by detaining them briefly. These checkpoints are not always used for the sole purpose of determining whether someone is intoxicated. A roadblock stop is quick, but it gives police a chance to check tags and licenses, while also giving officers a chance to peer into the vehicle for a moment.
Remember that your constitutional rights still apply in a roadblock situation. Though police are permitted to stop you briefly, they may not search you or your car unless they have probable cause to believe that you are under the influence or you agree to the search. It is also important to remember that you are not required to answer any of their questions or perform any of the tests that they request.
If you are approaching a checkpoint be cognizant that the police will be watching you from a distance. It is extremely difficult to evade a checkpoint because the police will usually have vehicles farther away watching you as you approach. Furthermore, since the Supreme Court's ruling in Illinois v. Caballes police have been able to use drug-sniffing dogs in roadblock situations. They usually will walk the dog around the vehicle and if he "alerts" to a particular area they can then search the vehicle.
Sobriety checkpoints are generally permitted by the courts, but the police are required to conduct the roadblocks properly. There are many different aspects of a roadblock that can be attacked by a good attorney.
If you're arrested at a police roadblock call the attorneys at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder. We are available 24 hours a day for free consultations.