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Checkpoints: When Can the Police Legally Seize You Without Reasonable Articulable Suspicion?

Checkpoints: When Can the Police Legally Seize You Without Reasonable Articulable Suspicion? The United States Supreme Court upheld sobriety checkpoints against a Fourth Amendment challenge in Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz.  The court there considered the important public interest in preventing DWI as balanced against 4th amendment liberty interests. This was a horrible decision for your rights, but, nonetheless, it is the law of the land.  The court did make it clear that the checkpoint must be reasonable, minimal, not a “surprise”, and only for the purpose of a legitimately important state interest.   What if you approach a checkpoint with your windows rolled up and do not speak, as has been recently publicized by a Florida Lawyer?  Is this legal? What would happen?  Can the officer force you to roll down the window, effectively “searching you” after having seized you? The answer is not so clear, and may depend on what state you are in.  This is a very brief review of North Carolina Law regarding checkpoints. The question ultimately lies in a balance between advancing a state interest in keeping the highways safe from impaired drivers, coupled with motor vehicle law enforcement, balanced against 4th and 5th amendment rights. In North Carolina, a DWI checkpoint is authorized not only by Michigan v. Sitz authority, but by our own statute, NCGS 20-16.3A Courts determine the legality of a checkpoint, initially, by looking at three areas. First, a checkpoint must have a legitimate purpose. Second, a checkpoint must be reasonable Finally, the intrusion into your individual rights must be minimal. Purpose- First, the court must determine the “primary...