Law enforcement phasing out sobriety checkpoints

Law enforcement throughout Missouri is shifting tactics to apprehend drunk drivers, which could have serious effects on DUI defense. Soon, more than 60 law enforcement agencies throughout the state will lose millions of dollars allocated for sobriety checkpoints, but that doesn't mean that it is any safer to drive after a few beers.

While sobriety checkpoints may become a thing of the past, law enforcement is not going softer on potential drunk drivers — if anything, they are getting more aggressive. Sobriety checkpoints are often visible from a distance, and in many instances, the law enforcement agency setting up the checkpoint announces when and where the checkpoint will take place.

However, under a new initiative, police are putting sobriety checkpoints on the back burner in favor of "saturation patrols." Saturation patrols dispatch teams of officers to an unannounced area to look out for drunk drivers rather than set up a single bottleneck. This potentially removes a number of useful defenses from many drunk driving charges.

Still, saturation patrols are a double-edged sword for law enforcement. On one hand, they do not have to announce these patrols like they do with checkpoints. On the other hand, most officials agree that it is not possible for saturation patrols to stop and arrest nearly as many drivers as checkpoint can.

If you recently received a drunk driving charge, you must act quickly to preserve your rights and your future. Do not wait to reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you evaluate the details of your experience and create a strong strategy to fight the charges and protect your future.

Source: Kansas City Star, "Missouri moves from DUI checkpoints to saturation patrols, and that concerns some," Lilly Openheimer, June 12, 2017

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