Today our civil liberties are not only being infringed upon, but often outright violated. Sadly, few Americans are even aware enough to challenge these gestapo style intimidation tactics as police powers run amuck of our once free society. Thankfully, a number of free thinking sites such as Alex Jones’ “Infowars” have provided numerous articles about the illegitimate nature of checkpoint stops and have sought to educate people on how to resist intelligently. Here at Last Minute Survival we have also provided numerous well researched posts on how to protect your civil liberties and continue our series with this piece on DUI checkpoints to inform our readers how to exercise their “rights” against poorly trained thugs (some law enforcement) that blindly enforce draconian edicts.
DUI checkpoints are unconstitutional. It is that simple. Any checkpoint, which a stop is, even if it falls under the “Terry” case law, must at minimum, meet the requirements of reasonable suspicion. To move forward and actually not allow someone to leave upon their own free will becomes an actual detention and probable cause of a crime “must” be present. Nonetheless, police around the country violate this clearly established Fourth Amendment legal precedent with few civil liberty violation suits being launched. Citizens need to know that they are not legally required to even speak with an officer at a checkpoint and do not need to remain (one must still obey traffic laws such as the need to yield) at the checkpoint once it is determined the “detention” is without probable cause.
If approaching a checkpoint, stop as directed and find out the nature of the checkpoint and why you are being stopped. This could be done by only rolling down the window a small amount. If the stop is for a random check, Fourth Amendment protections kick in. This at best gives the officers some latitude to attempt to talk and question you, but you are also free to refuse to talk and leave on your own free will. If an officer prevents you from doing so, it is usually best to comply as resisting will only give the officer more grounds to charge you frivolously. However, if no probable cause of a crime exists and the officer demands you get out of the vehicle, prevents you from leaving and going on your way, or in any way detains you further, the officer has violated your civil rights and is subject to legal suit. Further, any ensuing charges are likely to be dropped because any grounds for arrest were developed “after” an illegal detention. As such, it is very important to understand what constitutes a Fourth Amendment detention.
The lowest legal bar for a detention; albeit temporary, is a “Terry Stop.” This is most often the case of a traffic stop where an officer suspects the driver of violating some ordinance or committing a crime and stops the vehicle. During the traffic stop the driver is NOT free to go and as such, the stop is governed by the Fourth Amendment search and seizure clause. The Terry case law has been used by the courts for years to guide what constitutes reasonable grounds for an officer to make a vehicle stop or temporarily detain and question a suspect on foot. As such, the opinion of the Supreme Court is that “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has been committed, is in the process of being committed, or is about to be committed by the subject in question must be met before an officer can detain a person for further investigation. Even then, the Supreme Court has put time limits on the detention to allow the officer to develop “probable cause” from the original reasonable suspicion and arrest the individual or release the individual if probable cause cannot be established. Although the courts recognize setting a specific amount of time would be counterproductive, the court favors a “reasonable” timeframe that often turns out to be no more than fifteen to twenty minutes in most cases. In all cases though, the officer must meet the constitutional requirements for the seizure or be subject to prosecution and civil suit for civil rights violations.
The good news is that as citizens become more aware, it has become increasingly difficult for police departments to establish and operate checkpoints. This is also due to the fact that the legal challenges that have gone forward have been successful. As such, very few “DUI” charges are ever effectively prosecuted beyond appeals that are issued as a result of a checkpoint stop. As a case study, we conducted an examination of the disposition of DUI charges issued at DUI checkpoints in Prince William County, Virginia. We selected Prince William County because it is an affluent suburb of Washington, D.C. and has a highly professional police force that has recently walked away from random checkpoints exactly for the constitutional reasons we have discussed. What we found was that next to zero DUI’s were actually prosecuted. In fact, in about every case we reviewed, the charges were dropped unilaterally by the prosecution to lesser crimes to avoid the constitutional challenge in court. This is highly suggestive of the changes occurring due to constitutional challenges of informed patriots and should be seen as a major victory toward reversing tyranny and the police state.
Please know and exercise your rights responsibly and act to educate others. One of the best things you can do is band together with local lawyers to talk to your local sheriff or police chief and educate them on the unconstitutional nature of these type checkpoints and demand that your county, parish, city, etc. do not use them. In the event a checkpoint is announced, organize local publicity campaigns to educate locals on the illegal nature of these stops and make sure you vote out any official that condones these type of draconian actions.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. LMS does not employ lawyers and our articles are the opinions of our analysts and should not be viewed as professional legal advice. We always recommend seeking the opinion of certified legal counsel.