Are Neighborhood Checkpoints Legal?

You may have seen a shocking change in where local police, and state, police set up DUI checkpoints. DUI, or OWI, checkpoints in Indiana are fairly common. One of the reasons that you might have noticed more neighborhood checkpoints is the change in drinking patterns. More people are spending time drinking at residences with friends rather than going to a bar or club. Police have matched that shift, in order to ensure there are fewer drunk drivers on the road.

The downside is that they’re incorrectly labeling many people as drunk drivers when people are below the legal limit and just trying to get home. Does this sound familiar? It’s probably not too far off from your case if you’re wondering whether police can schedule checkpoints in neighborhoods. Contact our Indiana DUI attorneys today.

If you would like to know more information about what the defenses are for DUI, visit this page.

Are DUI Checkpoints in Indiana Legal?

Check warrants in Indiana, and within the city limits of Indianapolis, are completely legal. They’re a long time habit of Indiana State Police and Indianapolis local police, any idea is that they will intercept drunk drivers before they do any damage. But, many people feel like this is beating, or that they’re being lured into a trap. The police response is to explain that anyone who hasn’t been drinking shouldn’t be concerned. But you often get people who have one or two drinks, wait a few hours, and then head home. Those are the people most concerned about checkpoint areas.

What About Illegal Search and Seizure?

Unlike nearby Wisconsin, Indiana, and the surrounding states don’t consider that sobriety checkpoints constitute illegal search and seizure. In fact, the U.S. Supreme court decided that these checkpoints don’t count as illegal search and seizure when completed properly.

Outside of checkpoints, most people receive a DUI because of a traffic violation or crime that involves alcohol or illicit drugs and driving a vehicle. Traffic violations are the most common, although some police will pull over someone for signs of intoxication such as swerve, and frequent changes in their rate of travel. What happens when those officers pull over a person is that they already have reasonable belief, which would allow them to search the vehicle, ask you specific questions, and conduct a field sobriety test.

However, at checkpoints, basically, anyone who rolls through is subject to search and seizure. This is partially a result of Implied consent and the idea that this is being applied to everyone. But it’s not.

What to Expect at a DUI Checkpoint

The first thing to expect at a DUI checkpoint is that not every vehicle gets checked. The biggest issue with DUI checkpoints is profiling. Some police will waive some vehicles through without engaging with a driver at all.

So, what should you expect if you are stopped and engaged at a DUI checkpoint? The officer will ask you to lower your window, turn off your vehicle, and provide your driver’s license, registration, and insurance.

Then, they might initiate a bit of conversation or jump right into the very basics of a field sobriety test. Most drivers are not asked to come out of their vehicles. Some officers are able to carry on a conversation, and what they’re doing is attempting to detect the slurred speech, the odor of alcohol, and the inability to focus. Other officers, that jump right into it field sobriety test basics might ask you to follow a light, or step outside the car and conduct a one-leg stand.

Often Indiana State Police will work closely with specific communities that have seen a rise or ongoing trend in drunk driving behavior. This collaboration is why so many checkpoints are put into place around holidays, especially the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and New Years.

Rathburn Law – Indiana DUI Attorneys

Getting a drunk driving defense attorney is pretty low on what most people expect to do after a nice weekend. However, if you were caught in a checkpoint, you may have received a DUI ticket or charge that was inappropriate. The best way to battle these tickets are charges is to get an attorney involved early into the process. When you bring in the attorneys of Rathburn Law, we help explain what happened during that DUI checkpoint that led to you receiving a ticket or charge.

A DUI lawyer in Indianapolis, we see a high volume of people coming to us with charges they should have never received. The trouble is that they are often quick to give out and DUI tickets and charges, and they often discount the stigma and the financial struggle that can come with that. Call us for help with handling in Indiana DUI charge.

intent img


With over 25 years of experience, Rathburn Law is your ideal choice. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, Reach out to us today!