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When are sobriety checkpoints legal in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2021 | DUI/DWI |

Most traffic law enforcement occurs on a case-by-case basis. If police officer spots someone driving erratically or breaking the law, they will pull that person over and likely cite them. Sometimes, like when they suspect impaired driving, they could arrest the person.

However, that is not necessarily the most efficient means of enforcing traffic laws. Sometimes, police officers try to round up as many people as possible in a short amount of time. Sobriety checkpoints are law enforcement tools for exactly that purpose. They allow the police to screen dozens of people in a short amount of time, possibly leading to many arrests.

The police in Maryland regularly use sobriety checkpoints

There is nothing in either state or federal law that makes sobriety checkpoints illegal. Multiple courts have affirmed the legality of properly performed checkpoints. With proper planning and execution, a sobriety checkpoint is a legal tool to help the police catch drunk drivers and deter people from getting behind the wheel after drinking.

Especially on days with higher-than-average drunk-driving risk, such as around the holidays, the Maryland police might conduct sobriety checkpoints in areas where they expect to see significant traffic. When properly conducted, sobriety checkpoints won’t have too much of a negative impact on individual drivers or the flow of traffic. Law enforcement agencies often announce them ahead of time and may even cooperate across jurisdictions to staff a sobriety checkpoint.

Just because a checkpoint itself is legal, that doesn’t mean that you have to plead guilty to a checkpoint-related drunk driving charge. There could still be multiple defense options available to you. It’s wise to seek experienced legal guidance if you’re facing charges.

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