A NH House Committee voted 12-8 in favor of recommending passage of a Bill that would ban all so-called "DWI Checkpoints" - also known as DUI Roadblocks -- in New Hampshire.
Coverage of this story in the Concord Monitor points out that fewer than ONE PERCENT of drivers stopped in DUI Roadblocks in NH have been arrested for DUI. Meanwhile, the other 99 percent are law-abiding citizens, trying to get to work or home from work, trying to pick up children, trying to run errands in the tiny amount of "free time" that modern society affords us. What if an innocent driver is stopped in a roadblock, made late for work, and as a result, loses her job? And how do we feel, in the first place, about a public policy that relies on the mass detention of innocent people in an effort to find one guilty person? These are probably the types of considerations that led this House Committee to this historic vote.
Our firm has seen a number of DWI cases involving roadblocks end in favorable results, such as dismissals, or pleas to less serious offenses such as Reckless Operation. One of the problems with these cases for law enforcement is that unlike in most DWI stops, a roadblock stops a driver who has exhibited no signs of "erratic operation" such as weaving, crossing lines, driving at night without headlights, etc. That means these are generally weaker cases for the prosecution, harder to prove in Court. Your tax dollars at work!
This page has frequently reported on DUI Roadblocks, warned readers of upcoming roadblocks, and a page on our site explains some of the legal principles involved. Stay tuned for more coverage of House Bill 1283!
-- Ted Lothstein
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