One of the worst feelings for a driver, who has been drinking, is coming upon a police DWI checkpoint. Many drivers are confused as to what to do in such a circumstance, and it is imperative that they understand their rights. As the summer months approach, police will be conducting more and more of these checkpoints throughout Mecklenburg County.
Now, the operative question is where do these checkpoints occur? In the case, State v. Rose, the North Carolina Supreme Court determined whether a checkpoint is legal or constitutional. The North Carolina Supreme Court must meet the following factors:
- Must have a primary purpose; and
- Must be reasonable in the way it is conducted or carried out.
The court further stated that any type of driving violation can be considered a primary purpose, meeting the first factor. Violations such as expired registration or inspection, not having a driver’s license, or driving while impaired. Therefore, for almost any reason, the police can conduct a checkpoint; however, the circumstances must be reasonable. The reasonableness standard is where checkpoint location is determined.
In Mecklenburg County, home of Charlotte, these checkpoints are usually conducted on Friday or Saturday nights, typically late at night and stop usually after bars and restaurants have closed. Additionally, these checkpoints are also positioned where a large number of drunk driving accidents occur, and on major thoroughfares. Recent locations have been on Park Road, near Tyvola, or near the Dilworth area There are also many clusters in Montford, Plaza Midwood, NoDa, and the University area.
The best way to avoid checkpoints is not to drive; however, if you have not had anything alcoholic to drink, the checkpoint is simply an inconvenience. But, if you have had something alcoholic to drink, you will likely be charged, so taking a taxi is the best option. If you have been charged with a DWI at a local checkpoint, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP for a confidential consultation. You can reach our Charlotte, North Carolina office at 704-499-9000, or toll-free at 877-374-5999.