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Are sobriety checkpoints constitutional and legal in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2022 | Drunk Driving

Police officers want to catch drunk drivers. They have an obligation to promote public safety, and impaired driving cases frequently lead to people pleading guilty to the charges against them. Every drunk driving stop potentially bolsters an officer’s success rate when looking at home many of their arrests lead to criminal convictions. 

Typically officers will perform chemical breath tests on anyone pulled over for signs of impairment at the wheel and most individuals involved in motor vehicle collisions. Sometimes, police officers will attempt to screen numerous people in a short amount of time using a sobriety checkpoint or drunk driving roadblock. 

Is it legal for police departments to stop every vehicle that passes a certain point on the road in Maryland? 

The Federal Supreme Court has ruled on roadblock issues

People have previously claimed that drunk driving roadblocks are a violation of an individual’s constitutional rights, but the federal Supreme Court disagrees. It has ruled on a crucial roadblock case previously that effectively made sobriety checkpoints legal across the country. 

Some states deviate from the federal standard. Texas is an example. The state does not allow sobriety checkpoints. However, most states in the country, including Maryland, do allow police officers to conduct sobriety checkpoints for enforcement purposes. They simply need to comply with state laws and have the proper paperwork in place.

While you can’t defend against the charges you face by claiming the checkpoint was illegal, a defense could still be an option if you have grounds to challenge the evidence or a medical explanation for why you failed a breath test. Learning more about the rules that apply to drunk driving charges in Maryland can help those accused of a criminal offense.