Summer is coming to a close in Virginia, and Labor Day is often considered the last hurrah of the season. It is also a popular time to have picnics and parties, often where alcohol is served. Most people in Virginia are responsible drinkers and are aware that drunk driving could lead to undesirable legal consequences. Therefore, they will not become intoxicated over the Labor Day weekend. However, they should still be aware that Virginia police will be increasing the number of DUI checkpoints across the state from now through Labor Day weekend.
Specifically, State Police will set up 612 saturation patrols and 94 sobriety checkpoints across the state. Most people already know that the legal limit here is 0.08 percent, and those whose blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit could be arrested for drunk driving. But, drivers should also be aware that they could face drunk driving charges, even if their blood alcohol concentration is below 0.08 percent, if it can be shown that their judgment, response time or coordination were impaired.
So, motorists in Virginia will want to be aware that they may encounter sobriety checkpoints from now through September 3. They may wonder whether such checkpoints are legal, especially if they are not intoxicated or showing signs of impaired driving. Sobriety checkpoints are generally legal though.
This is due to the fact that a warrantless search and seizure could be lawful under certain conditions, if the search was reasonable. When it comes to sobriety checkpoints, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s interest in preventing collisions caused by drunk drivers is greater than the minimal intrusion a sobriety checkpoint will have on a sober motorist. Thus, warrantless stops at sobriety checkpoints are in general reasonable and therefore lawful.
Residents want to take care over the Labor Day weekend not to drive while impaired. If they are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint during this time, they will want to make sure they understand their rights in such situations. If they believe their Fourth Amendment rights were violated at a sobriety checkpoint, they may want to seek guidance from a legal professional, so they can address the matter in a way that serves their best interests.