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Why OVI Checkpoints are Legal in Ohio

DUI checkpoint sign

After a night on the town, the last thing most drivers expect or want to see is lights from a law enforcement vehicle. Nights and weekends are common for officers to be out on patrol looking for impaired drivers. In many towns, sheriff's offices or local police departments will hold OVI Checkpoints. While some states have banned this enforcement, checkpoints are still legal in Ohio.

Fourth Amendment

The U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protects citizens from being subject to unreasonable searches by the government. For an investigation to be conducted, there must be probable cause that an individual has committed a crime. A warrant must also be obtained to search a person's property. This amendment helps to ensure that the government does not abuse its power and that citizens' rights are protected.

The Fourth Amendment and OVI Checkpoints

Many state lawmakers feel that OVI checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment, so OVI checkpoints are banned. While Texas bans checkpoints directly citing the Fourth Amendment, Idaho bans checkpoints under state law, and Wisconsin and Wyoming ban them due to state statutes.

According to their state’s constitution, OVI checkpoints are banned in Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. While Missouri technically allows OVI checkpoints, laws prohibit state funds from being used to conduct this type of enforcement. All other states in the U.S. allow OVI checkpoints.

What Drivers Should Do if They Are Stopped at an OVI Checkpoint?

Drivers stopped at an OVI checkpoint should be cooperative and answer any questions the police may have. However, drivers should not provide information that could incriminate themselves, such as admitting to drinking alcohol. If the police ask a driver to take a field sobriety test, that driver should politely decline. If an officer tries to search the driver’s vehicle, they should again politely decline.

If you find yourself facing criminal charges after an OVI checkpoint, the team at L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC is ready to help you. Day or night, our dedicated attorneys are prepared to answer your questions and get started on your case.

Reach us 24/7, online or by phone. (937) 685-7006