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Know your rights if you are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint

Sobriety checkpoints are something everyone knows about but no one wants to see on the roads, especially if they've been drinking. While the intention of a sobriety checkpoint is good, the reality is that many believe it violates their rights. It means they're stopped by police when they've done nothing to merit being pulled over.

Many states and jurisdictions use sobriety checkpoints as a way to monitor drivers in their area and to arrest those who have had too much to drink. Not all states use these programs because of the legal issues that have always surrounded them.

Are sobriety checkpoints legal in South Carolina?

Sobriety checkpoints are conducted in South Carolina, but the state has no specific authority that upholds the legality of these stops. Individuals stopped at a sobriety checkpoint may wish to argue that they should not have been stopped or that they had their rights violated in court. The state itself has no laws upholding the validity of a sobriety checkpoint, even though it does allow them.

What should you do if you see a sobriety checkpoint?

Understand that sobriety checkpoints are designed as a way to keep dangerous individuals off the road, but they often do impact those who do not have any reason to be stopped.

If you see a sobriety checkpoint, you might consider going around it, but the reality is that most people wind up having to pass through the area or end up in a position where they're unable to turn around. Sobriety checkpoints aren't all bad, and if there is nothing to worry about, you should be able to pass through it quickly with no issues.

If you are arrested following a stop at a sobriety checkpoint, that's where the legality of the stop begins to fall into question. Normally, drivers would only be pulled over if they were driving recklessly or showing signs of intoxication. Pulling you to the side with no just cause could threaten the prosecution's case.

Sobriety checkpoints are a legal conundrum, and there's always a chance to argue that your rights were violated if you're pulled over. Your attorney can talk to you about the nature of cases such as yours and what you can expect if you do decide to go to court. In some cases, you will find that you can fight, and win, your case against a DUI charge.

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