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In the event I were to ever run for office as a Libertarian (or as a Republican for that matter) I would make this a part of my platform:  No DWI checkpoints in Virginia.  Period.  Stopping people at random at a checkpoint, however noble the intent, is contrary to the spirit and letter of the Constitution.  (In Virginia, a checkpoint to be legal has to have a plan, be approved by a supervisor and the plan has to be followed.  Also, the Court of Appeals actually held that police can legally stop someone who sees the checkpoint and turns around!  I cannot support that decision.)

Now there is this article from Townhall that says:  No more.  I cheer this in a conservative forum.  It would not have happened several years ago.

The author says DWI checkpoints are not cost effective (slight edited to remove one thing in middle of second paragraph):

The costs of enforcing DUI checkpoints are staggering. The state of California spends $12 million on them. A single checkpoint runs taxpayers $8,000 to $10,000. Many of the checkpoints are staffed by officers working overtime, which increases the cost.

A newspaper investigation a few years ago in Arizona found that checkpoints rarely catch anyone. Police officers stopped 46,000 drivers between 2005 and 2007, but only 75 stops resulted in convictions.

A formal study was performed analyzing Maryland’s DUI checkpoint program, and concluded, “there is no evidence to indicate that this campaign, which involves a number of sobriety checkpoints and media activities to promote these efforts, has had any impact on public perceptions, driver behaviors, or alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes and injuries.” Similarly, the FBI compared saturation patrols vs. DUI checkpoints, and concluded the former was more effective.

I was glad to read that ten states, including Texas, Idaho and Wyoming, have banned checkpoints.  Virginia should join them.  No more “show your papers” in our Constitutional Republic.

PS:  This paragraph ought to cure anyone of texting while driving!

Motorists engage in secondary behavior during approximately half of their time on the road. Hands-free mobile phone conversations are legal all around the country, but slow reaction times by a significant 26.5 percent, according to a study from the UK. Eating slows reaction times by up to 44 percent. Drivers who text slow their reaction times by 37.4 percent. In contrast, drivers at the legal limit for alcohol in the UK, which is .08 BAC, only demonstrated a 12.5 percent increase in reaction time. The National Highway Administration finds this disparity to be even greater, surmising that driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.

Thanks for the reminder, Rachel Alexander!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

2 Responses to “DWI CHECKPOINTS ought to be BANNED as UNCONSTITUTIONAL! ARTICLE suggests they don’t WORK!”

  1. Cannon Law

    It has some reasonable intentions, I should say because it would work – you would definitely get less drivers DWI, so although it seems not nice to drivers it has some meaning. I believe this still requires testing and proving as effective solution

  2. Tyler Flood says:

    I agree with that.

    I beleieve these checkpoints just make us spend money and are not useful.

    A lot of money is spent on them . And they don´t have a real reason to exist


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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