In case you thought you were free travel on public roads without having to concern yourself with a baseless intrusion by law enforcement, rest assured that the various Wake County law enforcement agencies are still actively hosting DWI checkpoints in the area. While they occur with less frequency now than they did a couple of years ago when the Raleigh Police Department was awash in federal money for prosecuting drunk driving, they’re still happening.
One recent DWI checkpoint was held on Highway US-70 near the exit for Raleigh, on April 26, 2019. On March 23, another DWI checkpoint was held on Durham Road in Wake Forest.
To be clear, a DWI checkpoint is presumptively unconstitutional. It is an intrusion by law enforcement with no individualized suspicion — in other words, no suspicion that you, the driver or other occupant of a vehicle — has actually committed any crime or traffic violation. And yet you will be stopped, delayed, and interrogated along with every other resident who happens to travel along the wrong path on a given date and time.
The local police will stop you, question you about where you’ve been, where you’re coming from, who you’ve been with, check your papers, smell your clothes, smell your car, and in some cases will order you to step out and perform absurd feats of physical and/or mental skill under threat of arrest. Any imperfection in your physical or mental prowess will be treated as evidence of impairment, and will almost certain result in an arrest — including politely declining to do those tests. After all, why would any sober person of right mind decline to submit to testing by law enforcement? (That’s a rhetorical question. Many reasonable, sane people simply believe that they should be free from police intrusion in a presumably free country.)
As we slip toward fascism, if you’ve been charged or arrested with a DWI, drug charge, or anything else following a stop at a checkpoint or roadblock, give me a call. Many of these checkpoints are blatantly unconstitutional, and we fight them with a vengeance.
Raleigh DWI lawyer Ben Hiltzheimer is a criminal defense attorney with offices in Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, who represents individuals charged with DWIs and the full spectrum of misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation at (919) 899-9404.