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Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Idaho?

At least once in every person’s driving experience, they will encounter a DUI checkpoint, also known as a sobriety checkpoint. These checkpoints are police traffic stops where drivers are briefly detained and interviewed after which suspicious drivers are subject to sobriety tests.

The main purpose of these checkpoints is to arrest drunk drivers and therefore keep the roads safer. They are typically conducted on holidays and nights of special occasions.

However, the legality of these checkpoints has been a topic of controversy in Idaho in recent history. Those against sobriety checkpoints claim that they constitute unlawful search and seizures, which is a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In State v. Henderson (1988), the Supreme Court of Idaho was required to decide whether a police roadblock designed to detect and deter intoxicated driving was constitutionally allowed, even though law enforcement had failed to obtain a judicial warrant and had no probable cause to believe the motorist was engaged in criminal wrongdoing, as well as a lack of legislative authority to establish a roadblock. In light of the defendant’s/appellant’s rights of freedom from arbitrary governmental intrusion, and the questionable efficacy of roadblocks, the Supreme Court concluded that such sobriety checkpoints cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny.

Simply put, DUI checkpoints are illegal in Idaho and is one out of 12 states to outlaw them. Additionally, the states bordering Idaho (e.g. Washington, Wyoming, Oregon, and Montana) all make sobriety checkpoints unconstitutional and do not allow police officers to stop all vehicles and be subject to an inspection.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Idaho, it is imperative to retain legal counsel from an experienced attorney. For more information, contact May, Rammell & Wells and request a free consultation with our Pocatello criminal defense lawyer today.

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