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Are Sobriety Checkpoints Even Legal In Wisconsin?

Imagine driving home from a holiday gathering, only to come upon a sobriety checkpoint. Before you reached that destination, your driving performance may have been impeccable. No weaving. No unsafe maneuvers. Proper signaling. The highest standards of safety.

Yet, you are forced to wait and subject yourself to sobriety testing.

In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled by a vote of 6-3 that sobriety checkpoints are constitutional on the federal level. Provided that police officers file operational plans on the process of selecting drivers, they may stop cars without reasonable suspicion.

The ruling was not without controversy, More than 25 years later and in spite of the high court ruling and legislative efforts to legalize, Wisconsin remains one of a handful of states where sobriety checkpoints are illegal.

Aside from costing drivers their Fourth Amendment rights barring illegal search and seizure, sobriety checkpoints are costly on a financial level. For many states, holidays where alcohol consumption increases is a reason to cherry-pick certain days and weekends to set up mass traffic stops.

The thousands of dollars invested in law enforcement payroll usually do not justify the results of casting such a wide net. Neighboring states have documented only a handful of drivers arrested for DUI out of the hundreds unnecessarily detained.

If drunk driving in Wisconsin is a growing problem, stripping the Constitutional rights of state residents is not the solution. Elected officials pushed the issue decades ago and will continue to tout the benefits of traffic stops en masse.

Taking away the smallest of rights only creates a slippery slope where other rights are at stake. Wisconsin residents need an attorney committed to protecting their when facing serious DUI charges.

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