Drunk driving checkpoints can be a bit controversial. While the police maintain that they're simply trying to keep people safe, the issue is that most OVI stops have to start with reasonable suspicion that the driver may be intoxicated. Police must have a reason to stop the car. Even if they don't think the driver is drunk right away, they need another reason, such as speeding, a seat belt infraction or a broken headlight.
With a checkpoint, they simply stop most cars that come through. Is that fair to drivers? While some would argue that it's not, checkpoints remain in use in Ohio.
In fact, one driver recently got arrested at a checkpoint that was run by the Franklin County DUI Task Force. Clearly understanding that drunk drivers become more common at night, statistically speaking, the police started the checkpoint at 9:00 p.m. and kept it up until 1:30 a.m. At that checkpoint, they:
- Stopped a total of 596 cars
- Checked 289 of those cars
- Arrested one driver for drunk driving
- Issued a total of 19 traffic citations
- Found 10 people with driver's license violations
- Found one person with a vehicle registration violation
- Handed out 19 traffic warnings
- Impounded five cars
- Made two arrests on felony warrants
- Made one arrest on a misdemeanor warrant
- Gave out one seat-belt citation
- Handed out two citations for improper child restraints
As you can see, checkpoints certainly are effective at boosting police department stats, but the controversy remains. If you get arrested on OVI charges or anything else at a checkpoint, you need to know what criminal defense options you have.