skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 120783 Find in a Library
Title: Use of Sobriety Checkpoints to Combat Drunk Drivers: Knowing When to Say When
Journal: Missouri Law Review  Volume:54  Issue:2  Dated:(Spring 1989)  Pages:485-500
Author(s): S D Reynolds
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 16
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Because sobriety checkpoints are used by law enforcement officers to stop drivers at random to determine whether they are intoxicated, they raise serious constitutional questions about unreasonable searches and seizures. The constitutionality of the sobriety checkpoint mechanism in 21 States is discussed, with particular emphasis on Missouri.
Abstract: Sobriety checkpoint roadblocks are used to detect and deter drunk drivers. When a car is stopped at the roadblock, the driver is asked to produce a valid driver's license and a vehicle registration. The initial stop and search of a vehicle is not based on probable cause. A Missouri case, in which a driver was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint roadblock, found to be intoxicated, and later arrested, is discussed in detail. The defendant claimed the sobriety checkpoint violated his fourth amendment rights. The court held that in Missouri sobriety checkpoints are not unconstitutional per se. The manner in which police conduct a sobriety checkpoint influences its constitutionality. State and U.S. Supreme Court cases outlining constitutionally acceptable procedures for conducting roadblocks are discussed in detail. It is important for law enforcement officials to promote the public interest while limiting the degree of intrusion on motorists. 120 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Sobriety checkpoints
Index Term(s): Mississippi; Probable cause; Right of privacy; Roadblocks; State constitutions; Vehicle stops
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.