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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97773 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Sobriety Checkpoint Roadblocks - Constitutional in Light of Delaware v Prouse?
Journal: Saint Louis University Law Journal  Volume:28  Issue:3  Dated:(June 1984)  Pages:813-834
Author(s): P Hagerty
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This examination of the legal status of roadblock checkpoints and roving police patrol stops considers the factors that are most likely to influence the U.S. Supreme Court's eventual decision whether to allow sobriety checkpoint roadblocks.
Abstract: Although no clear consensus exists about the constitutionality of police roadblocks, before the decision in Delaware v. Prouse such roadblocks were used for immigration checks, drivers' license and vehicle registration checks, and sobriety checks. In Delaware v. Prouse, the Supreme Court faced a fourth amendment challenge to a police practice of randomly stopping motor vehicles. In late 1976, a Delaware patrolman stopped a car for a driver's license check, although no suspicious activity or vehicle equipment violations had occurred. The officer seized marijuana that was in plain view on the car floor. The Supreme Court's decision focused on two potential dangers in such police activity: unreasonable government intrusion into citizens' rights of privacy and unconstrained discretion on the part of police officers in the field. While ruling against random stops, it mentioned roadblocks in which all vehicles would be stopped as an alternative. However, it provided no real guidelines for the legitimate use of roadblocks. Subsequent cases have not been uniformly decided. The Court will probably ultimately uphold the use of sobriety checkpoint roadblocks. However, it will probably also warn that fourth amendment interests must be carefully guarded. Approving only roadblocks used to check drivers for signs of intoxication would do this. The Court should also emphasize the need for nonarbitrary and nondiscretionary administration of these checkpoints, as well as minimal detention of motorists. If it concludes that uniform procedures for these roadblocks are feasible, it should also hold that they pose no constitutional problems. A total of 159 footnotes are supplied.
Index Term(s): Driving Under the Influence (DUI); Roadblocks; US Supreme Court decisions
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