Targeting DUI Checkpoint Apps a Silly Political Play – Roadblock Arrests Require Experienced Defense in Nevada, California

It’s official. Congress has solved the nation’s problems. No more debt worries. No problems with health care, Social Security or Medicare. Why else would Congressmen be tackling the issue of cell phone apps that alert drivers to DUI checkpoints?

Reno DUI defense lawyers should always be called to defend clients who are charged with drunk driving as the result of a checkpoint stop. Make no mistake about it: Such law enforcement roadblocks are a direct violation of your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Unfortunately, the courts have stopped short of taking that position. However, with at least a nod toward the Constitutional rights of motorists, the courts have placed strict rules and limitations on the operation of a checkpoint.

As a result, those charged with DUI in Reno, Lake Tahoe or elsewhere in California and Nevada have more ground upon which to challenge the stop and arrest. In general, there must be a strict checkpoint plan enacted by law enforcement to ensure every motorist is treated the same and that other rules are followed. The officers must have proper training. And there still must be probable cause for requesting that you submit to field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer examination.

The truth is these checkpoints have not been a worthwhile law enforcement tool for years. The number of drunk driving accidents is at an all-time low. And cell phones, text messages, and good old-fashion word of mouth from club to club has long helped ensure that such checkpoints are bypassed by legions of motorists. Mostly the unwitting and the unlucky are left to stumble upon them. And they are inherently unsafe for both officers and motorists. But they pay overtime. And they therefore remain a beloved tool of law enforcement and a primary way in which police departments show the public they are being proactive and “tough on crime.”

So it is in this context that we have Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, joining Charles Schumer of New York, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Tom Udall of New Mexico. The foursome sent letters to Apple, Google and Research in Motion (the maker of Blackberry), asking that the companies remove cell phone apps that identify the location of DUI checkpoints and send warnings to drivers, according to the New York Times.

Even these devices are not new — “Phantom Alert” has had a DUI checkpoint feature for several years and created a database of speed traps and red-light and speed cameras in 2008. The software is available not only for smart phones for but GPS navigation devices as well.

“With a person dying every 50 minutes in a drunk-driving crash, this technology should not be promoted to your customers,” the letter said. “In fact, it shouldn’t even be available.”

Makers of the warning systems argue they make drivers think twice about drinking and driving.

If you or loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact our DUI defense team at Joey Gilbert Law​ for a free confidential consultation. We can help! Live receptionist 24/ 7. Call (775) 574-4774.


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