While the frequency of Prince William County DUI checkpoints has waned in recent years, there is still a social pressure for officers to prosecute DUIs and these checkpoints still do exist. However, some believe that these checkpoints create constitutional issues. Regardless, it is better to play it safe and contact an attorney if you were recently charged with a DUI at a checkpoint.
DUI checkpoints are not very common in Prince William County. It has fallen out of favor. If someone is stopped at a checkpoint and charged with a DUI, they need to have an attorney who is familiar with those. They are required, in Virginia, to announce the purpose for a DUI checkpoint that is not related to DUI enforcement or has additional purposes. This makes it very hard to prove that a DUI checkpoint is constitutional, and often when someone is stopped at a DUI checkpoint and charged with a crime, they have a good argument that they should not have been stopped in the first place. The requirements for having a constitutional checkpoint are difficult to overcome.
Since these are not particularly common in Prince William County and checkpoints are announced ahead of time, it is best to listen to the radio and to be cognizant of the navigation system or the app that the driver uses to navigate. They should listen to social media to find out when a checkpoint might be taking place so that they could simply avoid the traffic slowdowns in that area which are the result of the DUI checkpoint.
Although DUI checkpoints are not frequent in Prince William County and checkpoints themselves have fallen out of favor to some degree, it is certainly more common for police officers in Prince William County to have heightened DUI enforcement near bars and late at night.
It is also common, in commercial districts or areas where there are a lot of bars, for the officers who are on a bicycle or on foot patrol to walk around the parking lot to see if anyone is “sleeping it off” in their car. Those people may be given tickets for DUI even though it is not a DUI checkpoint.
There is a lot of political and societal pressure on law enforcement and prosecutors to have a heavy focus on DUI laws. To a large degree, that is because there was very lax prosecution and very lax enforcement of those laws in previous decades, and DUI is a very dangerous thing.
People who are driving intoxicated have a much higher chance of causing accidents and a much higher chance of causing people to be hurt in those accidents. It becomes a political issue when there is an accident in which someone is injured in a DUI. It typically is a story that makes the news.
The last thing that any police officer wants to be involved in and the last thing that a prosecutor wants on their plate is a situation in which someone was charged with a DUI, has their charge reduced or dismissed, and later commits another offense in which someone is seriously injured or even killed as a result.
When those cases are highly publicized, it puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved, so all parties tend to treat DUI cases seriously.
Despite the decreased frequency of Prince William County DUI checkpoints, they still are employed by officers. However, just because you were charged with a DUI does not mean that you have no legal recourse. You still have the option to work with an attorney and build a strong legal defense. Even if you do not wish to fight a charge, an attorney could help you take the necessary steps that would demonstrate to the court that this was a one-time offense. Call today to better understand what options could serve you.
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