A bill recently introduced in the New Hampshire legislature to limit or prohibit officers from making arrests at sobriety checkpoints has sparked opposition from law enforcement agencies and other groups, according to a recent article in the Union-Leader.
Representatives of various law enforcement agencies and House representatives banded together to hold a hearing opposing the bill, which is now expected to be voted down in committee. Opponents argued that the bill would prevent law enforcement officers from taking suspected drunk drivers off the roads, which might endanger the lives of both the suspected impaired drivers and other drivers. Law enforcement officers pointed out that New Hampshire’s driving under the influence (DUI) rate is at its lowest point in 15 years, and they credited New Hampshire sobriety checkpoints with helping stop drunk driving.
The bill was introduced to limit the powers of police officers to arrest and search vehicles at sobriety checkpoints, which the bill’s sponsor believes violates drivers’ Fourth Amendment rights. Supporters of the bill also say that it will curtail unannounced or inappropriate sobriety checkpoints. In New Hampshire, a sobriety checkpoint must be approved by a court and announced via some advertising media at least one day before it is performed, but supporters say these rules are often overlooked.