The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year in Maryland and nationwide. It is also a time when people may be celebrating the holiday early with friends and family. These celebrations often involve alcohol. Due to the celebratory nature of the holiday, combined with an influx in traffic, police across Maryland will be on high alert for those they believe are driving under the influence of alcohol this time of year.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a DUI checkpoint was set up by officers in Harford County. The aim of the checkpoint was to apprehend those who have indulged in too much consumption of alcohol prior to the Thanksgiving holiday and are drunk driving. If a person in Maryland is convicted on DUI charges, they can face jail time, mandatory alcohol education courses, thousands of dollars in fines and they may have their driver's license suspended.
People may wonder if sobriety checkpoints are legal. The U.S. Supreme Court addressed this issue. It determined sobriety checkpoints do not violate a person's Constitutional rights against unlawful searches and seizures, so long as the checkpoint is made known to the public in advance. In Maryland, a DUI checkpoint must be announced to the public prior to taking place, but the area where the checkpoint will be does not need to be disclosed.
If you were stopped at a DUI checkpoint on Thanksgiving eve, you may have many questions, especially if the stop led to drunk driving charges. Even if the checkpoint itself was lawful, arguments can still be made to counter the accusations of drunk driving. Field sobriety tests can be subjective and breath test readings can be faulty, or the officer performing the breath test may have done so improperly.