There are typically three situations that lead to driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in South Carolina. The first is when a crash occurred. Police officers frequently perform chemical testing after a wreck to determine if either driver was under the influence and will arrest either party if they fail.
The second is direct enforcement. A police officer who suspects a specific driver of alcohol intoxication can conduct a traffic stop that then leads to an arrest. However, some people face DUI charges because they got stopped at a sobriety checkpoint and then arrested.
When South Carolina police officers perform sobriety checkpoints, they shut down all of the traffic on a road and interact with every driver. Is it possible that the checkpoint you went through was not legal?
South Carolina allows sobriety checkpoints
There are some people who mistakenly think that all DUI roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints are illegal. However, both the federal Supreme Court and the state of South Carolina have affirmed the legality of such checkpoints. Still, police officers need to comply with specific rules if they want the arrests from a checkpoint to lead to DUI convictions.
First of all, the department conducting the checkpoint needs to have the right internal policies in place, including proper officer training. The officers typically need to gather statistical evidence while performing checkpoint responsibilities. The officers need to arrange a plan for the checkpoint to ensure public safety and must make the checkpoint visible so that people know the police are present.
When officers stop your vehicle, they can only interact with you briefly to screen you for signs of impairment. Each driver should face only momentary delay, rather than an in-depth conversation. Only those who present signs of impairment should face additional testing or detention. Finally, the police have to stop every vehicle, not certain vehicles randomly, and they must have a supervisor present while conducting the checkpoint.
Police records can help you determine the validity of the checkpoint
The police department performing the checkpoint needs to have information about the checkpoint and its legality available to defense attorneys and members of the public. A careful review of the arrest report for your case and the documentation for the checkpoint could help you find a strategy to challenge the evidence gathered against you or the checkpoint itself.
Learning more about the drunk driving laws in South Carolina can help you respond to a recent DUI arrest.