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Ongoing debate, controversy surrounding DUI roadblocks

We spotlighted a nationally prominent drunk driving-linked enforcement tool in a select blog post from last year. We noted in our September 4 entry that, "Not all states allow sobriety roadblocks within their borders."

Missouri does. And it is not exceptional for doing so, joining a strong majority of states that permit the practice.

DUI roadblocks are controversial, with the debate between supporters and critics being ongoing and incessantly sharp. Proponents say that roadblocks make roads safer because they enable enforcement teams to identify and arrest drunk drivers, while minimally inconveniencing other motorists in the process. Opponents question the tool's effectiveness and costs, and additionally decry the detainment of drivers without probable cause.

A recent article addressing roadblocks reports that 11 states ban the practice on various grounds. We note in the above-cited Frank Juengel & Radefeld blog entry that Missouri's allowance is "subject to a number of stated rules that operate as checks against unbridled police conduct." Proven criminal defense attorneys can shed light on those and provide diligent legal representation to any Missouri motorist with roadblock-tied questions or concerns.

The number of "not inside our borders" states could soon be increasing, given that North Dakota legislators recently expressed strong disapproval of roadblocks. The House of Representatives in that state passed anti-roadblock legislation last month by a whopping 79-14 vote. The would-be law providing for a ban is now under consideration in the North Dakota Senate.

The bill's sponsor asserts what a wide swath of roadblock critics nationally routinely stress, namely, that "sobriety checkpoints are terrible at apprehending drunk drivers." He calls the practice "a waste of time."

And there are of course those aforementioned due process concerns arising from motorist stops not preceded by any reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

One thing is certain about DUI checkpoints: They will continue to be a controversial and much-debated subject in the criminal law realm.

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