How can people fight DWI charges after a checkpoint arrest?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Drivers in New York can get arrested for intoxication due to a number of different scenarios. In some cases, police officers stop specific drivers in traffic because they drive so poorly the officer suspects them of intoxication.

Police officers may also request testing after a collision if they believe that one driver was under the influence at the time of the wreck. Those two scenarios account for a substantial portion of the driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests in New York every year. However, some drivers get arrested due to mass enforcement efforts by local law enforcement.

Police departments sometimes conduct DWI checkpoints or sobriety roadblocks. They stop every vehicle at a certain point on the road to screen the drivers inside for signs of chemical intoxication. Those stopped at checkpoints often worry about asserting their rights and defending against the allegations they face. The following are some of the potential defense strategies that may work effectively for those accused of DWI offenses because of checkpoint arrests in New York.

Challenging conduct at the checkpoint

Despite what people sometimes think, checkpoints are not inherently violations of the rights of individuals. The Supreme Court has previously ruled on the issue and clarified that properly-conducted checkpoints are legal law enforcement tools.

In some cases, it is possible for a defense attorney to raise questions about the validity of a particular checkpoint because police officers did not have the right paperwork on record or did not adhere to best practices. If officers do not follow appropriate protocol during a DWI checkpoint, their mistakes or omissions could help people defend against DWI charges.

Providing reasonable explanations

People often assume that they have no way of fighting DWI charges if they failed field sobriety tests or chemical breath tests. However, there are a variety of different scenarios that could lead to false positives on tests administered at a checkpoint.

From medical issues affecting the defendant to a failure to properly calibrate testing units, there are many reasons why police officers may have arrested someone who wasn’t actually intoxicated at a checkpoint. Many people arrested at a checkpoint have options for fighting their charges.

There are a host of other potential defense strategies available depending on the evidence that the state has and the situation immediately prior to a DWI arrest. Discussing the details about what happened at a checkpoint with a skilled legal team could help someone land on the best defense strategy after encountering a sobriety checkpoint in New York.