In an operation, they’re calling “Checkpoint Strikeforce,”
police officers in Harford County recently arrested three alleged intoxicated
drivers at a sobriety checkpoint near the town of Bel Air. The arrests
were all made in just over three hours on a recent Friday night.
The checkpoint was placed at 11 p.m. on Friday evening on Route 24. It
ran until 2:25 a.m. During that time, police stopped and investigated
over two hundred vehicles. The drivers of three of those vehicles appeared
to be intoxicated and failed field sobriety tests. All three were placed
under arrest and charged with
Police checkpoints have a somewhat controversial history. In many states,
they go completely unused, as law enforcement officials believe that they
are too expensive and not effective enough at deterring drunk drivers.
Often, reports are given that drunk drivers simply take side roads to
detour around the checkpoint, thus pushing the problem onto other streets.
In addition, police officers must be very careful to ensure that they follow
proper procedure very carefully each time they stop a car at a checkpoint.
Drivers have strict constitutional rights that govern police behavior.
They cannot issue a Breathalyzer test without reason. Officers must ensure
that they closely follow all of these procedures in each of the hundreds
of car stops they conduct at a sobriety checkpoint. Failure to do so would
invalidate any evidence gathered at the scene, as it would be a violation
of the rights of the defendant. Those rights must be protected, no matter
what charges the defendant may be facing.