Drivers in Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville and surrounding areas across Alabama have no doubt noticed a marked increase in drunk driving patrols lately. DUI sobriety checkpoints have also begun to crop up throughout the state in the days preceding the Labor Day weekend. Checkpoints, also known as sobriety roadblocks, are used by local and state police as a way to lower the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents and fatalities on our state highways and surface streets.
As a Birmingham DUI defense lawyer, I often alert motorists to these checkpoints because of the higher number of driving while intoxicated arrests in certain areas. By law, state, county and municipal arms of law enforcement can only set up checkpoints in locations that have a statistically high incidence of people driving under the influence of alcohol.
Part of a nationwide campaign, the Huntsville police DUI task force began its “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit, Under Arrest” initiative last Friday in order to crack down on impaired driving. The campaign will continue through September 7. According to new reports, local police will join Alabama State Troopers, Madison County Sheriff's Office and Madison, New Hope, Owens Cross Roads and Gurley police departments to identify and arrest drunk drivers.
Standard procedure at sobriety checkpoints includes police giving standardized field sobriety tests to drivers that appear to be intoxicated. If the officer is satisfied that an individual operating a vehicle is possibly drunk, a Breathalyzer test will usually be administered to determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) of that driver.
Some of the announced sobriety checkpoint locations will be set up along the following roads in the Huntsville area: Drake Avenue, Jordan Lane, University Drive, Bob Wallace Avenue, Bailey Cove Road, Andrew Jackson Way, Sparkman Drive, Pulaski Pike and Cecil Ashburn Drive. There will likely be other, as yet unannounced locations, appearing throughout Alabama over the coming weekend.
Huntsville police start two-week DUI enforcement campaign today, AL.com, August 21, 2009