North Dakota recently made news when its House Representatives passed legislation that gets rid of DUI roadblocks. The vote was 79 to 14, and the measure now goes to the state Senate Judiciary Committee.
"The cold hard fact is that sobriety checkpoints are terrible at apprehending drunk drivers," state Representative Rick Becker (R-Bismarck), the bill's sponsor, said. "They fail miserably at apprehending. There's really not much debate on that aspect."
Ineffective law enforcement
Critics across the country have several complaints about the effectiveness of these roadblocks. These include:
- 63 percent of drivers over the .08 blood alcohol level slip through these blockades
- Officers on the move are three-times more likely to catch an offender than if law enforcement sets up a roadblock.
- It is a generally poor use of an officer’s time from a cost-vs.-results ratio.
- Law enforcement also does not see it as effective use of its time.
Local law enforcement would seem to agree with this assessment: According to www.duiblock.com, the last time a checkpoint was set up in Bloomington was December 31, with the one before that being on March 28.
If North Dakota passes this measure, the state will join Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming as states that have done away with DUI checkpoints. Indiana does not have any legislation on the horizon involving this issue, but we could take a cue from our fellow states.
Legal help is always available
Whether caught at a checkpoint or pulled over, those facing OWI charges here in Bloomington or the surrounding community are advised to seek legal guidance from a knowledgeable OWI/DUI attorney. They can often help determine if the stop was legal, whether the punishment fits the crime and protect drivers’ rights to the full extent of the law.