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DWI checkpoints in Missouri may lead to other charges

In general, police are not allowed to lawfully pull over a car without a legally justifiable reason. A traffic stop should be based upon more than a mere whim. Constitutional principles that bar unreasonable search and seizure issues can come up in many types of criminal cases.

Despite the general rule barring suspicionless traffic stops, courts in Missouri have allowed law enforcement agencies to set up sobriety checkpoints to look for drivers who may be driving while impaired. The U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that DWI checkpoints are not constitutionally prohibited in the general sense. However, the high court says that safeguards should be put in place to protect the constitutional rights of drivers. Criminal defense lawyers may scour the procedures involved in a DWI checkpoint to look for violations of the law.

Media accounts chronicling the results of a DWI operation may include a laundry list of the violations found and the charges that may arise at a sobriety checkpoint. Police all over the state ran operations during the recent St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend. The Springfield News-Leader reports that a dozen people were arrested at a checkpoint Monday night.

Only one of the arrests involved an alleged DWI. The remaining 11 arrests were for drug crimes, according to the newspaper. Ten people were arrested on meth charges, with one person being arrested for allegedly possessing marijuana. Authorities say that a few of the people taken into custody also had outstanding warrants.

A person pulled over, or stopped at a checkpoint, who is then arrested on drug charges in the Columbia, Missouri, area, should seek the representation of legal counsel as soon as possible. Drug charges in Missouri can bring long-lasting consequences if a conviction is entered.

Source: Springfield New-Leader, “DWI checkpoint brings 10 meth possession arrests," Stephen Herzog, March 19, 2014

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