Here’s what the 4th Amendment of the Unites States Constitution states:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
It was written to guarantee the rights of each man’s home and property, protecting them from illegal or unreasonable searches, arbitrary arrests, and any other form of unlawful surveillance. It can play a major role when it comes to unlawful traffic stops by law enforcement officers.
An unlawful traffic stop is one that violates your rights as stated above in the 4th amendment. First, a law enforcement office must have probable cause to stop you. This might include speeding, a faulty headlight or expired registration among other things. Once stopped, the officer cannot search you or your car unless there is a good or sound reason. If an arrest takes place based on an illegal search, it cannot stand up in a court of law.
Many would argue that DUI checkpoints are unlawful traffic stops and they are often labeled as “unconstitutional.” With any other type of traffic stop, a police officer must witness some type of suspicious behavior or traffic violation. At a DUI checkpoint, any car that passes through can be pulled over. This seems to violate the 4th amendment. However, there is criteria set forth to ensure that these checkpoints are constitutional.
- Checkpoints must be announced ahead of time
- Law enforcement officers working at the checkpoints can only stop vehicles based on a pattern that was decided beforehand
- Law enforcement supervisors must be present throughout the duration of the checkpoint
- Checkpoints must gain proper approval through the correct authorities before it can take place
If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, contact Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys right away. We’ll set up a free consultation with experienced criminal defense attorney Charlie Naegle. He’ll review your case in detail to determine if any of your 4th amendment rights were violated.