Some Roadblocks/Checkpoints in Utah are Constitutional
Many people in the Provo area have experienced police roadblocks. Roadblocks, often called checkpoints, are places on a road where many police officers or Utah County sheriffs stop vehicles so officers and deputies can inspect all drivers and vehicles passing along that road. Roadblocks usually happen around holidays and celebrations when law enforcement believe many people party and drink. The purpose of a roadblock is usually to deter DUI’s and to prosecute those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Constitutional Limits of Roadblocks in Utah
The police typically lack probable cause to believe any particular driver who is stopped has broken any law, so many question the constitutionality of roadblocks since probable cause is required for police to usually stop and question motorists. Roadblocks, therefore, potentially violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection of unlawful searches. But while many Fourth Amendment advocates may believe that roadblocks are unconstitutional and illegal, court have ruled that they are permissible when conducted in certain ways. For a roadblock or checkpoint to be valid under the Fourth Amendment’s protections, police in Provo and the rest of Utah County must follow the same procedures with respect to all drivers on a road that has been targeted for a checkpoint. Utah County law enforcement cannot discriminate against any particular motorist.
Even if police in Provo or other Utah County cities follow the same procedures for every driver, a roadblock could still be found illegal. A roadblock’s purpose must be closely tied to highway safety, like preventing a DUI, and cannot be directed only at general crime control, such as stopping child pornography. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the following types of roadblocks are legal: Sobriety (DUI) checkpoints, illegal immigrant checkpoints in areas near border crossings, and investigatory checkpoints to gather evidence to help solve a crime. The Court has found that a narcotics checkpoint (drug crimes) is not valid. A Provo Criminal Defense Attorney knows what a police officer can or cannot do at a checkpoint.
Busted Because of a Roadblock? Contact a Provo Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime, such as a DUI, because of a roadblock, call a Provo Criminal Defense Attorney. A Provo Criminal Defense Attorney will protect you rights and make sure the police were in the constitutional limits of a roadblock. Call 801.800.8246 for a free consultation with a Provo Criminal Defense Attorney today.