Articles Posted in DUI / Drunk Driving Checkpoints

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Massachusetts State Police opened fire at a driver who allegedly struck one officer and then police on a high speed chase after failing to stop at an OUI / DUI roadblock on Sunday in Lawrence and arrested him on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges.

The driver allegedly refused to stop at the checkpoint shortly after 2:00 a.m. on Sunday and drove right through it, allegedly striking a Massachusetts State Trooper, while other officers opened fire at the vehicle. After being apprehended following a chase by other troopers, the man was arrested and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, and Assault & Battery on a Police Officer.

Following his arraignment in Lawrence District Court earlier this week, the man was held without bail.

In Massachusetts, it is legal for police to conduct OUI / DUI checkpoint or roadblocks as long as the cars they select to stop is not arbitrary and the procedure is conducted according to a plan devised by law enforcement.

A plan by police must be established, otherwise it is illegal for police to target which vehicles to stop. Even ‘fixed’ checkpoints where police stop cars according to no set plan or pattern is illegal. Simply, if the officers conducting the OUI / DUI checkpoint have any discretion in which cars they stop, the sobriety checkpoint could be declared constitutionally illegal.

For that reason, DUI / OUI sobriety checkpoints must be governed by set of standard and neutral guidelines, which must clearly forbid the arbitrary selection of vehicles to be stopped.

When a car is stopped at a sobriety checkpoint, the officer may lawfully request that driver to submit to a secondary screening only if he has reasonable suspicion, based on articulable facts, that the driver may be operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Boston DUI / OUI Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Drunk Driving Lawyer, or call 617-325-9500.

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When it comes to DUI / OUI roadblocks, aka “sobriety checkpoints”, Massachusetts law permits police to establish DUI roadblocks so long as the selection of vehicles stopped is not arbitrary and the procedure is conducted pursuant to a plan devised by law enforcement supervisors.

By way of background, a stop of a car at a police roadblock, no matter how brief, is considered to be a warrantless seizure that implications constitutional protections under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. The United States Supreme Court has upheld police using DUI checkpoints if they are reasonable and balance the public interest in reducing alcohol related accidents against a person’s constitutional rights.

The reason police must operate an OUI checkpoint according to a devised plan is because it is illegal for police to target which vehicles to stop. Even fixed checkpoints where police stop cars according to no set plan or pattern are illegal. In other words, if the police officers have any discretion in the stopping of vehicles, the constitutionality of the sobriety checkpoint will not be upheld.

Massachusetts courts have therefore required that, in order for police to conduct a DUI / OUI Sobriety Checkpoint, they must be governed by standard, neutral guidelines that clearly the forbid the arbitrary selection of vehicles to be initially stopped.

Once a car has been selected at the DUI checkpoint and only if the police officer has reasonable suspicion, “based upon articulable facts” that the driver may be operating under the influence, he may lawfully direct that driver to submit to a secondary screening. Courts have generally upheld further screening after the initial stop if the screening officers observed “any articulable sign of possible intoxication.”

Because challenging your OUI / DUI arrest following a sobriety checkpoint is very technical and turns on the intricacies of the drunk driving laws, you should immediately consult with an attorney who has experience in drunk driving matters.

Boston DUI Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crimes.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts OUI / DUI Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

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For persons charged with DUI / Drunk Driving Charges after having gotten stopped at a DUI Checkpoint, Massachusetts law mandates that the DUI Checkpoint must be reasonable.

In other words, in cases where a defendant is charged with Operation of a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol challenges the stop and ‘seizure’ at the checkpoint as not having been constitutional, Massachusetts criminal law places the burden on the prosecutor to prove that the roadblock seizure was conducted in accordance with certain guidelines. If the prosecutor fails to meet his burden that the checkpoint was reasonable and constitutional, your case be ultimately be dismissed.

In the 1983 case of Commonwealth v. McGeoghegan, the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that, in order for a roadblock to be permissible, the selection of cars stopped by not be arbitrary and assurance must be given that the procedure utilized by the police to conduct the DUI checkpoint is conducted pursuant to a plan devised by law enforcement. Additionally, the site selected for the DUI Checkpoint must a “problem area”, in other words, where accidents or drunk driving arrests have previously occurred.

DUI Checkpoints in Massachusetts are constitutional, therefore, only if the police officers conducting the checkpoints did so in strict accordance with the established guidelines. Failure to strictly comply with the guidelines, for example, extending a roadblock without authorization, can lead to a finding of non-compliance and a successful challenge to your DUI arrest.

Boston Drunk Driving Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for representation on all Massachusetts DUI / OUI / Drunk Driving Charges.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Boston DUI Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.