Maryland DUI Attorney Explains Drunk Driving Checkpoints

Are Drunk Driving Checkpoints Legal In Maryland?

Sobriety checkpoints, also known as drunk driving checkpoints, are a common method employed by law enforcement officials to nab intoxicated drivers. In some states, the checkpoints are illegal, while other states allow police officers to use them freely. What does Maryland law say about the issue? Keep reading to find out.

What is a sobriety checkpoint?

In Maryland, sobriety checkpoints are areas of a road, usually in a popular or busy area, where police set up roadblocks to stop and review all vehicles that pass through. When police create these checkpoints they are designed to slow drivers down and allow officers to quickly interact with drivers, checking for signs of impairment.

How are sobriety checkpoints used?

Police departments around the state use these checkpoints for two reasons: 1) to apprehend drivers who are impaired and 2) to send a message to other drivers that police officers are in the area and that it is best to avoid driving drunk.

Checkpoints are employed a lot during high traffic weekends, holidays and other times when large numbers of people are out and about and may be drinking. Popular roads are commonly used or areas near celebrations and nightclubs. Police choose the location of the checkpoints based on their likelihood of turning up intoxicated drivers.

What does Maryland law say about sobriety checkpoints?

In Maryland, sobriety checkpoints are legal. The law is clear that no statutory or constitutional violations occur when the inhabitants of a vehicle are stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. Court cases have held that the State has a compelling interest in preventing drunk driving and these checkpoints have been found to serve that interest.

Maryland law also does not require police departments to warn drivers that sobriety checkpoints will be in operation until the drivers arrive in the immediate area of the checkpoint. Some counties extend a courtesy to residents by announcing the location of sobriety checkpoints on local new stations, but this is rare.

Need help with a Maryland traffic ticket or drunk driving case? Call me at 301-563-9575 or 1-877-566-2408 for a free consultation. I’m an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer and I’d be happy to help. I practice law throughout the entire State of Maryland.