DWI Checkpoints & New York DWI Laws

The DWI Checkpoint or Sobriety Checkpoint or Roadblock

In DWI cases in New York or Westchester County, Putnam County, Rockland County, or Orange County the New York DWI laws and District Attorney policy's have become very strict. This is likely in response to high profile DWI cases in New York State particularly Westchester and Putnam Counties. These high profile cases are for the most part the exception to the average DWI case. Checkpoints or Roadblocks are part of both Felony DWI, Misdemeanor DWI or DWAI arrests.

In order to maximize police resources police departments rely on large sweeping patrols for DWI offenders such as the DWI Sobriety Checkpoints or DWI Roadblocks. This is designed to obtain as many arrests as possible without excess police patrols.

DWI defense in New York the best DWI lawyers will aggressively attack the DWI checkpoint as that forms the basis for the entire DWI arrest. Westchester, Orange and Putnam counties in particular use DWI checkpoints to net large amount of arrests.

In attacking the checkpoint or DWI Roadblock it is important to understand New York State DWI law as it pertains to the checkpoint. The leading case is People v Scott, 63 NY2d 518.

In Scott the New York State Court of Appeals held that DWI checkpoints or roadblocks must be established pursuant to a written directive of the County Sheriff for the purpose of detecting and deterring driving while intoxicated or while impaired. The police are prohibited from administrating sobriety tests unless they observe listed criteria indicative of intoxication which gives substantial cause to believe the operator is intoxicated.

DWI Roadblocks to be constitutional must meet the following criteria:
1. May not intrude to an impermissible degree upon the privacy of motorists approaching the checkpoint.
2. Must be maintained in accordance with a uniform procedure which affords little discretion to operating personal
3. Must utilize adequate precautions as to safety, lighting, and fair warning of the existence of a checkpoint.

In the follow up DWI checkpoint or roadblock case of Scott the Court of Appeals further held in the case of In re Muhammad F., 94 NY2d 136 that limiting the discretion of officers in the field is of decisive significance in determining whether a checkpoint type stop of a vehicle is Constitutional.

Every top DWI lawyer should have a firm understanding of the police department's checkpoint because if the checkpoint is deemed Uncontitutional then the entire arrest will be suppressed.

The best criminal defense in a DWI case or any other criminal matter always starts with the basis for the arrest and in checkpoint or roadblock cases that is clearly defined.