Colorado drivers are taking the heat this summer as part of the Colorado Department of Transportation's statewide drunk driving campaign, Checkpoint Colorado - 100 Days of Heat. The campaign runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The goal? To arrest drunk drivers on the road before they cause a DUI accident.
During these 100 days, there has been and will continue to be increased sobriety checkpoints, where police officers randomly pull over drivers and test them for DUI. If the officers suspect drunk driving, they can perform field sobriety tests and other tests. On the evening of the first day of the campaign, officers arrested 15 people for DUI in Colorado Springs. That same weekend, more than 1,082 vehicles were pulled over and 25 people arrested in Fort Collins.
Are Sobriety Checkpoint Stops Legal?
The Fourth Amendment of the United States' Constitution forbids unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that police officers can typically only search someone's property, such as his or her vehicle, if the search is "reasonable."
According to the United State's Supreme Court, DUI checkpoints are legal - the public interest in reducing drunk driving is greater than the breach on individual rights that the checkpoints create. While some states consider sobriety checkpoints unreasonable and thus forbid them, Colorado does not. Under current case law, there is very little you can do to challenge a Colorado sobriety checkpoint, no matter how unconstitutional it may seem.
What, then, are your options if you are arrested for DUI at a sobriety checkpoint? Just like any other drunk driving criminal case, the best thing you can do is hire an experienced Colorado DUI defense attorney. An attorney can help you investigate your charges and determine what defenses are available to you. Was the field sobriety test performed correctly? If you breathed into a Breathalyzer, was it working properly? If the evidence against you is strong, you may be able to reduce your charges or fight to keep yourself out of jail through alternative sentencing.
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