Fireworks in night sky (image is in public domain)

Fireworks in night sky (image is in public domain)

This weekend is a holiday, which means there’ll be barbeques, parties, fun, beer…and DUI checkpoints.

What Are DUI Checkpoints?

A DUI checkpoint is a station where law enforcement will pull over every vehicle on the road. The officers speak with each driver, and if the driver smells like drugs or alcohol, that individual is escorted from the vehicle and further tested via roadside or chemical field testing.

DUI checkpoints are always temporary, and they are set up at times and in places where police suspect that they will find drunk drivers. In the Denver, Colorado, area, DUI checkpoints were responsible for over 70 arrests during a recent July 4th holiday.

Are DUI Checkpoints Constitutional?

The U.S. Supreme Court says that checkpoints are legal because each driver is brought in and checked quickly for signs of drinking/drugging and driving. Sober drivers are released quickly.

There is no Fourth Amendment violation, because the process is not random. This, by the way, has been the law for 23 years. The court held that the need to find drunk drivers outweighs the minimal burden placed on legal, sober drivers by being stopped.

Tips for Stopping a Drunk Friend from Driving

Drinking + driving = handcuffs (image licensed by C Collins)

If you are with a friend who’s been drinking too much, and wants to drive, here are a few tips for preventing him/her from driving:

Tip #1: Approach the conversation in a non-confrontational way.  Remember that the person’s listening is impaired from drinking alcohol, so talk more slowly and explain the situation more fully.

Tip #2: Ask a friend or two for their support. It’s harder for someone who’s been drinking to say no to several people. Let your friends know the goal is to keep the interaction non-confrontational, light and supportive

Tip #3: Tell your friend that you care about his/her safety. If you are at your house, invite them to sleep over, offer to drive the person home, or call a taxi (and pay the fair in advance, another way to show your friendship and support).

Tip #4: Take away their car keys, but don’t make it a tug-of-war.  Just as you approached the conversation in a light, non-confrontational manner, do the same here. By the way, helps if you take the keys while the person is distracted.

Have a safe, fun holiday!

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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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