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Do Sobriety Checkpoints Deter Drunk Driving?

Like many states, New Hampshire law enforcement conduct may sobriety checkpoints each year. At these checkpoints, police check on drivers that pass through in order to screen them for clues that might indicate the driver is driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Sobriety checkpoints have been declared Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court as long as they meet minimum guidelines. But do sobriety checkpoints really make impaired drivers think twice about hitting the road?

According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the answer is “maybe.” A review of sobriety checkpoints in nine different states lead to the conclusion that drivers might be deterred from driving with alcohol or medication in their systems by the existence of sobriety checkpoints, but only if certain conditions surrounding the checkpoint exist.

For instance, sobriety checkpoints have to be held regularly in order to work, so that drivers get used to the idea that they may be stopped. Also, sobriety checkpoints must be advertised in order to work. Drivers who do not know that sobriety checkpoints are in place will not see any reason to take extra steps to protect themselves against a DUI arrest, whether they are impaired or not. Finally, the study found that sobriety checkpoints are only effective in deterring impaired driving when they are used as just one tool in the police “kit” of ways to observe and arrest potentially impaired drivers.

Sobriety checkpoints rely heavily on an officer’s ability to observe and correctly interpret signs of possible intoxication, but even the best officers make mistakes. If you’re facing drunk driving charges in New Hampshire, the experienced NH DWI defense attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A. can help you protect your legal rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. For a free consultation by phone, call us today at 1-603-624-3700.