Does Michigan Use DUI Checkpoints?

Everyone knows that drunk driving is illegal. If you are caught with an unlawful bodily alcohol content or exhibit signs of intoxication while driving, the police can arrest you for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). However, in order for an DUI investigation to begin, there must be a valid traffic stop.

What does this mean? It means that you must have violated a section of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code. Alternatively, if your driving alerts the police officer that you cannot safely operate a motor vehicle, you may be pulled over. For instance, you may be swerving within your lane or driving at fluctuating speeds.

Typically, an officer will claim that you were speeding or failed to maintain your lane. However, some states have an extra level of law enforcement on the road ways by utilizing DUI Checkpoints.

What is a DUI Checkpoint?

A DUI checkpoint or sobriety checkpoint is a tool that police departments use to check for sobriety. The police close off a portion of the road, requiring drivers to speak with an officer to ensure they are not intoxicated. However, the United States Supreme Court ruled that they are constitutional. Besides this, DUI checkpoints are still used in other states such as Rhode Island and Maine.

However, Michigan has decided that they violate the Fourth Amendment, thus making them illegal in this state. The Fourth Amendment guarantees freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

If you are forced to speak with an officer, this interaction can be deemed a seizure. Considering the DUI checkpoint requires every driver to be “seized,” this is unreasonable. Michigan has held firm that the use of DUI checkpoints is illegal.

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How the Police Gets Around This

Despite this, this does not mean officers are not setting up their own “checkpoints”. For example, you can be sure that police are stationed outside of bars/clubs around 1:30am. Last call means that no further alcohol will be sold, so most patrons head to their cars.

Officers will assume you are intoxicated if you are leaving an establishment that sells alcohol at that hour. Police will often watch you leave the bar to see if you are stumbling or lacking coordination.

They will continue to follow you until they have a reason to pull you over, which might be:

  • speeding,
  • no turn signal,
  • cutting someone off, etc.

Therefore, although no “checkpoint” was established, both local and state police will use these tactics to get around the law.

An Uber is Cheaper than a DUI

An OWI defense can be very expensive. The police will use any slight mistake to pull you over and arrest you. Even if you have a defense, the fees can be quite high to properly defend your case. The safest way to avoid an OWI is to call an Uber or Lyft.

Although you may think you are a great driver, no drunk driver is a good driver. While there may not be a DUI checkpoint on your route home, there will surely be an officer waiting for you to slip up. Don’t risk your future.