George F. Hildebrandt
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Are DWI checkpoints legal in New York?

Checkpoints are legal in the state of New York. While some people believe these checkpoints infringe on drivers' rights, courts have sided with the police in saying they are a necessary deterrent to prevent people from driving while intoxicated. They become far more prevalent during the holidays when people are more likely to drink and drive. 

It is vital for drivers to remain professional when going through one of these checkpoints. There are rules the police need to follow, so it is important to remember your rights.

Rules for police

DWI checkpoints are legal as long as the cops do not pursue unlawful searches and seizures. One rule police agencies must follow is that they publicize the checkpoint well in advance. This action reduces the imposition that the cops have intruded on people's privacy. Additional rules include:

  • The checkpoint has to serve a clear purpose.
  • Warning signs and lighting must be present to increase drivers' safety. 
  • Officers cannot violate drivers' privacy beyond a reasonable point.
  • Profiling is against the law.
  • Officers cannot detain motorists for an unreasonable period of time. 
  • A supervisor must be present to oversee every aspect of the operation. 

In the event you believe the police violated your rights in any way, do not hesitate to speak to a legal professional. It is possible for a judge to dismiss such charges. 

Rules for you

The cops have certain rules to follow, and you should conduct yourself in a professional manner when going through a checkpoint. You should not try to make a U-turn to avoid the checkpoint because the cops will see you. You should slow down and cooperate with the police to the best of your ability. Before the cops get a chance to talk to you, you should get your license and registration ready, so you do not have to spend time getting everything. You do not have to answer any questions beyond stating your name and whether you own the vehicle. 


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