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  1. #1
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    Default Are Police Roadside Check Points Legal

    My question involves Police Roadside Check Points from any state:


    Didn't the SCOTUS rule on police check points, that is, not being able to stop drivers just to check their DL's? I thought there was "supposed" to be some probable cause or objective violation to initiate a information gathering vehiclular stop.....

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Police Roadside Check Points

    I would have to look but I believe scotus ruled DUI checkpoints legal. I believe they also ruled checkpoints when there is reason such as a recent bank robbery in the area and they are attempting to ascertain information also legal.

    are you saying they set up a checkpoint for no other reason than to check DL's?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Police Roadside Check Points

    In Delaware v. Prouse, the court indeed said that stopping cars without cause solely for the purpose of checking for licenses is invalid.
    However, in MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE v. SITZ (and others) they've upheld the violation of the 4th amendment (with some dissention) when there's compelling public reason for the stop such as checking for drunk drivers.

    So yes, they can stop cars in a discretion neutral way (i.e., they stop everyone, or every third car, or whatever), to check for signs of intoxication. Of course, in the course of this they can ask for your license (and cite you if you are not).

    What hasn't been specifically decided is whether such checkpoints for "security" purposes (such as on the approaches to NY bridges) falls under the acceptable compelling reasons. My guess from reading Sitz is that there's a good chance that it could be.

    Do you have a specific issue?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Police Roadside Check Points

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    In Delaware v. Prouse, the court indeed said that stopping cars without cause solely for the purpose of checking for licenses is invalid.
    However, in MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE v. SITZ (and others) they've upheld the violation of the 4th amendment (with some dissention) when there's compelling public reason for the stop such as checking for drunk drivers.

    So yes, they can stop cars in a discretion neutral way (i.e., they stop everyone, or every third car, or whatever), to check for signs of intoxication. Of course, in the course of this they can ask for your license (and cite you if you are not).

    What hasn't been specifically decided is whether such checkpoints for "security" purposes (such as on the approaches to NY bridges) falls under the acceptable compelling reasons. My guess from reading Sitz is that there's a good chance that it could be.

    Do you have a specific issue?

    After looking for awhile I did come across that MI SSC ruling stating the MI State Constitution took precedence over the SCOTUS ruling (IN MI)...

    This is the story from down in Florida I came across, looks to me the county sheriff is setting up road blocks to check everyone's DL.....seems like an invasion to me to stop everyone and demand to see your license, I'm coming from the premise the police needed some type of "reasonable " suspicion or an observed infraction, it's almost akin to the police knocking on your front door and asking for proof of homeownership

    http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/feb/...doing-traffic/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Police Roadside Check Points

    After looking for awhile I did come across that MI SSC ruling stating the MI State Constitution took precedence over the SCOTUS ruling (IN MI)...
    Say what? What decision is that.
    This is the story from down in Florida I came across, looks to me the county sheriff is setting up road blocks to check everyone's DL...
    Looking for illegals? Sounds like it probably doesn't meet the compelling jusitification.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Police Roadside Check Points

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    Say what? What decision is that.
    Looking for illegals? Sounds like it probably doesn't meet the compelling jusitification.
    Sitz vs Michigan.....

    I didn't think they could stop everyone

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Police Roadside Check Points

    I'm still not seeing it. First off, the Michigan Supreme Court didn't even hear this case. They declined to hear it and the State Police went to SCOTUS. Further, even the lower courts that heard it in Michigan did it solely on US Constitutional issues and didn't rule as to whether any of the Michigan Constitution had any bearing or not.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Police Roadside Check Points

    regarding Sitz (from http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_88_1897)

    In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that the roadblocks did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The Court noted that "no one can seriously dispute the magnitude of the drunken driving problem or the States' interest in eradicating it." The Court then found that "the weight bearing on the other scale--the measure of the intrusion on motorists stopped briefly at sobriety checkpoints--is slight." The Court also found that empirical evidence supported the effectiveness of the program.
    I do not see how it can be applied to searching for illegals. I have my doubts as to how it can be applied to merely checking to be sure each driver is properly licensed as neither would be considered to be considered a problem that removing those found would have any affect on the safety of the roadways. Since the justification was based upon a highway safety issue, I would think it would be limited to something that would increase the safety of the roadways to be applicable. That might be stretched to the license issue but I, personally, do not believe it would.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Police Roadside Check Points

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    I'm still not seeing it. First off, the Michigan Supreme Court didn't even hear this case. They declined to hear it and the State Police went to SCOTUS. Further, even the lower courts that heard it in Michigan did it solely on US Constitutional issues and didn't rule as to whether any of the Michigan Constitution had any bearing or not.
    It was something I saw here→ http://blog.motorists.org/5-things-y...ut-roadblocks/ (last paragraph,first item) granted this (Sitz v MI) is about DUI check points, it would seem to me to be relative to roadblocks set up just to check DLs (you're not searching for impaired drivers, but the fact the police are detaining citizens without any observable infraction)

    ...A simple query; ...Can the police (or any LE agency) detain you (either while operating a motor vehicle (stop you) or even walk up and knock on your door and "request" you come on downtown to talk ) without a warrant, subpeona or probable cause, or suspicion of ANY kind?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Police Roadside Check Points

    Quote Quoting NCC 1701
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    ...A simple query; ...Can the police (or any LE agency) detain you (either while operating a motor vehicle (stop you) or even walk up and knock on your door and "request" you come on downtown to talk ) without a warrant, subpeona or probable cause, or suspicion of ANY kind?
    too many different scenarios for one answer.

    They have the right to request anything of you. They can walk up to your door and request you come on downtown to talk. They cannot mandate it without PC. There is no requirement for a warrant, subpoena, probable cause, or even suspicion for them to walk up to your door and initiate a contact.

    To stop your car they must have reasonable suspicion of a crime. Once stopped, they can ask anything of you. Whether you can be required to comply is based upon the justification for the demand.

    they cannot detain you, (beyond the exceptions the SCOTUS has carved out) without reasonable suspicion.

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