DUI checkpoints have proven to be effective. They essentially allow police to talk to every driver coming down the road and, if needed, give them breath tests or field sobriety tests to see if they’re impaired. Not every driver gets tested, but the police do make some level of contact with them.
These checkpoints are also controversial, though, with some people claiming that their rights are being violated. After all, drivers who have done nothing wrong — broken no traffic laws and made no driving errors — are still essentially getting stopped by the police. In other situations, these types of random stops are illegal, so police can only stop drivers when they have a reason to do so. A checkpoint removes the need for probable cause of any type and simply stops every single driver.
With all of that in mind, you may be wondering if DUI checkpoints are legal in South Dakota. Should you expect to see them and is an arrest made at such a checkpoint actually legal?
Checkpoints are legal, and counties are often announced
First and foremost, like most other states, South Dakota does recognize checkpoints as a legal option. The police can pull drivers over and an arrest made at this checkpoint is not automatically illegal just because of how it was made.
That said, the police often do release information at least stating which counties they plan to set these checkpoints up in. For instance, in June of 2021, they set up 18 different checkpoints in 17 counties.
This means that drivers have a chance to avoid these checkpoints by avoiding the counties. The goal, police state, is to encourage people not to drive under the influence. But this can also serve as a warning, even for completely sober drivers who simply feel like a checkpoint violates their rights and who do not wish to go through one under any circumstances.
Have you been arrested?
If you have been arrested at a checkpoint and the police believe you were impaired by alcohol or other drugs, it can have a massive impact on your future. Make sure you know about all of the legal defense options you have.