Broward County DUI Lawyer William Moore has studied DUI roadblocks, also known as sobriety checkpoints, extensively during his DUI defense career. Invariably billed as an effective device to keep drunk drivers off the road – and to make more DUI arrests – the sobriety checkpoints simply do not work to prevent DUI from happening, nor to actually catch those drivers who are committing the crime. Although law enforcement agencies in Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Lauderdale-Dade Counties, as well as anti-drunk driving organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving continue to tout the sobriety roadblocks as effective, the hard data is conclusive: roadblocks are effective at generating revenue, but not at preventing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
For example, Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore says that the Lake Worth police department in Broward County set up a DUI roadblock over the Fourth of July weekend, stopping drivers between 10:30 p.m. on Friday, July 3, and 1:00 a.m. on Saturday. The sobriety checkpoint netted a grand total of three arrests for DUI, which is probably an unusually high figure. Some roadblocks end with only a single arrest, for instance. The checkpoint did result in plenty of citations for other, generally less serious violations, however, including eight for driving with a suspended or revoked license, 14 for driving without a license, one for a child safety restraint, seven for adults not wearing their seat belts, 12 without proof of insurance, two drivers with improper equipment, and a variety of other non-criminal traffic violations. Notably, only a tiny fraction of problems police found were in any way related to the purported goal of DUI roadblocks: eliminating drunk driving on the streets of Broward County.
The reality is that sobriety checkpoints are a cash cow for police departments around the country. Law enforcement agencies look good to members of the community when they operate these checkpoints, as they are required to be publicized in advance and cracking down on DUI is a popular police goal. They are financially beneficial to the agencies because by directing traffic through the checkpoint, law enforcement officers can check the equipment, licenses, registration, and insurance of a high number of vehicles quickly – and issue more traffic tickets than they would otherwise be able to do.
Criminal defense studies have shown that the most effective crime deterrent is increasing the likelihood that criminals are caught. DUI checkpoints have little effect on this, as drivers must actually elect to go through them. Widespread police patrols are a more effective tool, cause less hassle for regular drivers, and do not implicate other police interests, such as the necessity of generating funds through citations.
Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore offers qualified DUI defense in Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Lauderdale-Dade Counties. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore, P.A.
This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor as implied representation of any person.
Article contributed by Mallory Shipman, Esq.