Police employ a number of methods when working to enforce vehicle laws. Both standard patrols and mandatory checkpoints are means with which officers keep watch over motorists, sometimes requiring a traffic stop of unsuspecting drivers, even if their driving has been seemingly lawful.
Just such a situation played out earlier this month in Mecklenburg County, as local officers and North Carolina state patrol set up two mandatory sobriety checkpoints at busy intersections. Each stopping point lasted from 11 p.m. to 3.a.m. Located on Nations Ford Road and Central Avenue respectively, the checkpoints resulted in over 140 charges being filed, including 15 DWIs and numerous drug and weapons infractions.
The high frequency of charges filed at both checkpoints, averaging from 15 to 20 per hour, points to a concerning trend amongst North Carolina drivers. Many are getting behind the wheel after they’ve had too much to drink, aren’t carrying a valid license, or have in their vehicle an illegal and potentially dangerous item. In these instances, a run-in with the law can quickly prove to be a complicated, high-stakes legal situation.
These kind of mandatory stoppage checkpoints show no sign of going away. Whether they zero in on intoxicated driving, seatbelt compliance, or drug possession, checkpoints consistently prove effective at reinforcing North Carolina road laws.
Although encountering a police sobriety checkpoint could very well lead to a drunk driving charge, drivers must bear in mind that the allegation process of DWI or DUI frequently includes an opportunity for court contest and potential reduced sentencing deals reached through negotiation. The assistance of a criminal defense attorney can help exploit these opportunities, making a failed checkpoint stop much more manageable.
Source: WCNC, “DWI checkpoints net 142 charges over the weekend,” Elizabeth Thomas, Nov. 11, 2012
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