DUI Arrests at Sobriety Checkpoints: When Charges Can Be Dropped

December 23, 2013

If police fail to follow the strict rules associated with setting up and running DUI sobriety checkpoints, any DUI charges from the checkpoint can be dropped.

If police fail to follow the strict rules associated with setting up and running DUI sobriety checkpoints, any DUI charges from the checkpoint can be dropped.

One of the primary ways that law enforcement officials arrest people for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is by setting up sobriety checkpoints, which involves regularly stopping vehicles and questioning drivers to assess whether they appear to be intoxicated. The Supreme Court has ruled that it is legal for police to conduct these checkpoints; however, police have to comply with some specific rules:

  • When setting up and operating DUI checkpoints
  • In order to ensure that the arrests and charges later hold up in court.

If police fail to follow these strict rules, which are as follows, the DUI charges filed against a driver can later be dropped:

  • Rule 1 – Setting Up the DUI Checkpoint: In order for a sobriety checkpoint to be set up legally, police have to pick a specific location for the checkpoint and can only have it setup for a discrete amount of time (e.g., from 9 pm to 2 am). If the cops don’t have a discrete location and timeframe for their DUI checkpoint, then any DUI arrests made at that checkpoint can be dismissed with the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
  • Rule 2 – Operating the DUI Checkpoint: In order for the sobriety checkpoint to be operated legally, police have to have a specific, nondiscriminatory method of stopping cars and talking to drivers. For example, while cops may choose to stop every car, they could also choose to stop every other car, every fourth car, etc. If they violate the chosen method because, for example, they think that some driver looks suspicious, any DUI arrests that come out of that checkpoint can be dropped later.
  • Rule 3 – Changing the Rules of Operating: Police operating DUI checkpoints are allowed to change their methods of stopping vehicles and questioning drivers as long as they have a legitimate reason to do (e.g., because traffic is backing up or the weather takes a turn for the worse) and they document the time and reason for making this change.

Denver and Boulder Metro Area DUI Defense Lawyer at the Griffin Law Firm

Facing any type of criminal charges can be both scary and stressful, as a conviction could cost you your reputation, your career, your family and even your freedom. If you or your loved one has been arrested for and/or formally charged with any crime, Christopher Griffin wants you to know that he is ready to immediately start providing you with the strongest possible defense against police and prosecutors – both outside and inside of the courtroom.

Regardless of whether you are facing criminal charges for the first time, have prior convictions and/or were on probation or parole at the time of the alleged crime, Christopher Griffin and all of the legal professionals at the Griffin Law Firm will work relentlessly to help you obtain the best possible outcome to your case. In fact, our steadfast dedication to the notion that the accused are innocent until proven guilty means that we will do everything in our power to help you resolve your case in the most favorable and efficient manner possible.


To receive a complete evaluation of your case, along with professional advice regarding your best options, contact us by calling 303-280-1070 or by emailing us using the form at the top of this page.

Categories: Blogs, DUI, DUI Defense, DUI Sobriety Checkpoints, Front Range Criminal Defense Lawyer