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Are sobriety checkpoints legal in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2022 | Drunk Driving

Both the Bill of Rights and state law in Maryland protect people from inappropriate police activity. People can ask the courts to throw out evidence or dismiss charges based on police misconduct.

Although most police officers perform their jobs in good faith, some of them may go too far in their desire to have a high arrest or solve rate. In situations where people think that police officers have overstepped their authority or violated their civil rights, they may believe that those circumstances will impact any criminal charges that they face.

People think of checkpoints as a violation of their rights

Although drunk driving charges in Maryland are often the result of individual enforcement efforts by police officers conducting traffic stops, sometimes large numbers of people will have to stop for the police because of a drunk-driving roadblock or sobriety checkpoint.

Given that one checkpoint can impact dozens or more people, they seem like a potential violation of civil rights. Are sobriety checkpoints legal in Maryland?

State and federal law currently allow sobriety checkpoints

Federal laws do allow sobriety checkpoints. However, they largely defer to the individual states. Most states permit sobriety checkpoints, although a few have passed laws prohibiting the practice or restricting it.

In Maryland, sobriety checkpoints are relatively common. Police departments even announce large checkpoints to the public before they occur. Individuals hoping to avoid inconvenience during their daily commute or during a night out with friends may want to check the news for reports of pending checkpoints and also learn more about their rights if they encounter one while driving.

Learning more about the laws that affect drunk driving charges in Maryland can help you if you have been arrested.