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Unpublished Paper
A Matter of Life and Death: Statutory Authority Enabling Sobriety Checkpoints to Effectively Fulfill Their Public Safety Role
ExpressO (2008)
  • Christopher J Bodnar, University of Texas at Austin
Abstract

In 1990, the United States Supreme Court upheld the use of sobriety checkpoints as a tool for combating the public safety hazard of drunk driving. Since then, thirty-nine states have authorized sobriety checkpoint use. Today, these checkpoints are largely ineffective in many states, because of judicial decisions holding that observation of a driver avoiding a sobriety checkpoint does not constitute reasonable suspicion to allow an officer to make an investigatory stop. Since sobriety checkpoints no longer effectively further the state’s substantial interest in public safety, the suspicionless stops made at these checkpoints are likely unconstitutional. This Note proposes a model statute, which clearly defines the circumstances under which avoidance of a sobriety checkpoint constitutes reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop for the limited purpose of determining driver sobriety. If adopted by state legislatures, this model statute would restore the effectiveness, and constitutionality, of sobriety checkpoints.

Keywords
  • sobriety checkpoints,
  • public safety,
  • constitutional law
Disciplines
Publication Date
February 26, 2008
Citation Information
Christopher J Bodnar. "A Matter of Life and Death: Statutory Authority Enabling Sobriety Checkpoints to Effectively Fulfill Their Public Safety Role" ExpressO (2008)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/christopher_bodnar/1/