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What drivers need to know about DUI checkpoints in Rapid City, SD

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | DUI |

Drivers in Rapid City and across South Dakota may occasionally encounter traffic patrols. Police departments schedule officers to monitor major thoroughfares for signs of unsafe driving. Anyone speeding or otherwise breaking traffic laws could face a traffic stop followed by a citation. More serious traffic offenses may lead to someone’s arrest and criminal prosecution instead of a ticket. Impaired driving is one of the more common traffic infractions that may lead to criminal charges instead of a ticket.

Some people get arrested during targeted traffic enforcement efforts, but others get swept up in sobriety checkpoints or driving under the influence (DUI) roadblocks. What do people generally need to know about DUI checkpoints in the Rapid City area?

Checkpoints are popular enforcement tools

Although some people feel like DUI roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints are a violation of their Constitutional rights, that isn’t necessarily the case. The Supreme Court of the United States of America has previously ruled that checkpoints do not violate the Constitution in many circumstances.

Provided that South Dakota law enforcement agencies follow the right protocol when establishing and operating DUI checkpoints, they are a legal means of screening motorists for sobriety. The state permits dozens of checkpoints every year. Each of those checkpoints might lead to hundreds of drivers stopping for brief screening by law enforcement professionals. Police officers can engage in enhanced screening practices when there are signs of impairment present during the initial screening process.

Overall, the number of arrests that occur at South Dakota sobriety checkpoints are relatively low. The vast majority of people who pass through checkpoints are not under the influence. However, even those arrested may not actually have violated the law. Perhaps the repeated use of a breath test device led to calibration issues. Maybe officers conducting checkpoints didn’t listen when someone offered reasonable explanations for chemical test results or their performance on field sobriety tests.

Getting arrested at a DUI roadblock or sobriety checkpoint does not automatically mean that a person who has been accused is guilty of breaking the law. There are ways to potentially defend against charges that follow an arrest at a sobriety roadblock. Reviewing the state’s documentation for the checkpoint with an attorney is a good starting point for those responding to South Dakota DUI charges.