The most recent dismissal came in March, when a Queens Criminal Court judge ruled that officers did not arrest the suspect for leaving an object hanging from a rearview mirror, as they claimed, but for conducting an illegal sobriety check. This was the fifth cancelled case involving an illegal checkpoint set up on a service road in the state since 2012. If an officer approaches the vehicle at an impaired field sobriety checkpoint, they can tell you that they are investigating possible alcohol and driving offences. He will ask you where you are going, where you are from, or if you consumed alcohol that night. It is not necessary for a police officer to inform a motorist that it is indeed an impaired driving checkpoint. No, they are not. This would defeat the purpose of DWI`s field sobriety checkpoint, which is to stop cars at random locations to deter drunk drivers. On appeal, the court upheld the defendant`s conviction after finding that the DWI checkpoint met all constitutional requirements. Specifically, the court found that officers who arrested hundreds of suspected drunk drivers on the service road in 2011 conducted so-called “exit” surveillance, meaning they stood on the side of the service road, waiting for passing cars. The police claimed in court that they had looked for traffic violations in passing cars – but several judges disagreed, noting that the officers were carrying out an illegal sobriety check, rendering evidence obtained during these checks inadmissible in court.
In New York City, it is perfectly legal for police departments to set up sober checkpoints where officers can stop and stop drivers for a short period of time to see if they are driving while intoxicated. However, these checkpoints must comply with the legal restrictions imposed on them and must be carried out in a fair and impartial manner. In Menschen v. Holley, 157 Misc.2d 402, 596 N.Y.S.2d 1016 (1993) A DWI checkpoint was declared unconstitutional unless there was evidence that there were procedures in place to limit the discretion of the officers operating the roadblock and there was no evidence that the checkpoint was part of an overall police plan. The Supreme Court concluded that sober checkpoints are legal under certain conditions, noting that preventing injuries caused by impaired drivers outweighs the risks of violating people`s rights. Some people believe that DWI checkpoints are not legal; However, this case has been heard and the courts of New York – and the Supreme Court of the United States – have upheld its constitutionality as long as certain procedures are followed. This means that even if you know someone who insists DWI checkpoints are unconstitutional, the fact is, it probably isn`t. The facts relevant to this case are simple: the accused was arrested at a checkpoint and eventually arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Apparently, immediately before the entrance to the checkpoint, there were signs indicating the presence of the police.
All law enforcement agencies were in cars marked with the vehicle`s emergency lights on, and all officers were wearing their uniforms. In addition, the officers operating the checkpoint stopped all passing cars. However, officials would not ask motorists for their driver`s license and proof of insurance so as not to obstruct traffic more than necessary. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that “sober checkpoints” are legal, even though they constitute an infringement on individual freedoms under the Fourth Amendment. In New York City, courts have ruled that police can conduct weekly DWI checks, provided that: Once at the checkpoint, a police officer usually approaches the driver`s side and asks him to roll down the window. Since there are no signs of misconduct such as lane changes or other violations of the Vehicles and Traffic Act, police will usually try to detect signs of poisoning: the smell of an alcoholic beverage or marijuana, slurred speech, and/or bloodshot, watery eyes. If police observe one or more of these signs, they will ask the driver to stop and undergo a portable breathalyzer test and/or field sobriety test. In New York, however, police conduct so-called coordination tests in a district that has a breathalyzer test. What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test in New York? In order to demonstrate that the primary purpose of a particular checkpoint was truly related to DWI, the available evidence should include statements from a high-level police service responsible for determining the operation and parameters of the checkpoint at the programmatic level. It should also include documentary evidence such as statistics on the number of vehicles stopped for further examination, the number of ticks issued, the number of arrests, the purpose of the arrests, the type of evidence seized, the number of drivers observed and copies of the documentation delivered at the checkpoint.
While this is incriminating, it must be kept in mind that a) checkpoint checks are allegedly unconstitutional and b) the Supreme Court does not want checkpoints to become a routine part of American life. In this regard, the Edmond Court explicitly recognized the challenges associated with a primary inquiry, but held that such an inquiry was necessary to separate abusive government conduct from what is legal.