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Do Sobriety Checkpoints Work?

According to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): “If checkpoints are held often over long enough periods of time and are well publicized, motorists assume police are cracking down on impaired drivers….. [t]his helps to dissuade people from driving after drinking.”  As one of the NH Criminal Defense Attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A., these DWI roadblocks make me wonder if an ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure.

Recent Sobriety Checkpoints in Portsmouth, NH

sobrietycheckpointA DWI checkpoint was recently conducted on June 2, 2012 in Portsmouth, NH.  According to law enforcement, approximately 265 vehicles were stopped. Of the 265 detained, only 2 were arrested for DWI.  Law enforcement officials would argue that the advanced publicized notice of the checkpoint worked.  On the other hand, opponents of the checkpoint would point out that 263 innocent drivers were unnecessarily detained by the police, even though they had committed no crime and the police had absolutely no reasonable suspicion to stop and question them.

According to statistics, a 1-2% DWI arrest rate is typical for these sobriety checkpoints.  Many opponents argue that the low arrest rate does not justify the cost of implementing these roadblocks, nor justifies the imposition on individuals’ Constitutional rights.  New Hampshire law enforcement will continue to utilize DUI Hunter Patrols, Saturation Patrols and Sobriety Checkpoints.  The effectiveness of these DWI patrols remains questionable.

If you have been arrested at a sobriety checkpoint and charged with DWI, DUI or OUI in NH, contact the NH DWI Lawyers at or call us directly at 603-624-0390. Our New Hampshire DWI lawyers have a statewide DWI practice.

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