State Lawmakers Consider Bill Allowing Sobriety Checkpoints

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/KRLD) – Whether you drink alcohol or not, you could soon find yourself stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. The Texas legislature is once again considering a bill to make them legal in the state.

Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd says this isn’t the first time Austin lawmakers have considered sobriety checkpoints. “The last legislative session it was introduced,” he said. “The [current] bill itself got further than it ever had before.”

Boyd is one of many North Texas lawmen that support the checkpoints. More than 30 other U.S. states already permit the random roadblocks where police look for drunk drivers.

Tuesday, a key committee heard from a number of Texas police commanders including Arlington Deputy Police Chief Lauretta Hill, who supports the bill. “This bill strikes that balance between the public safety and the well-being of individual liberties,” she told the committee.

All of the law enforcement officials who testified agreed that sobriety checkpoints are a means of defending sober drivers from the drunks.

Opponents of the bill say the checkpoints are an invasion of privacy for law-abiding Texas drivers. Other organizations, including the American Beverage Institute, are also against the legislation saying the checkpoints are expensive, ineffective and catch few if any drunk drivers while imposing a high cost to taxpayers.

  • State Lawmakers Consider Bill Allowing Sobriety Checkpoints « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] State Lawmakers Consider Bill Allowing Sobriety Checkpoints Whether you drink alcohol or not, you could soon find yourself stopped at a sobriety checkpoint. The Texas legislature is once again considering a bill to make them legal in the state. Go to News Source […]

  • OSO

    Yes! Do them! Get the drunks and druggies off the road! More Texans lose their lives every year from drunks and druggies than Texans lost each year in the Viet Nam war! I don’t mind being stopped; I have nothing to hide! The real powers to fear against this law are the rich and powerful who don’t want to be stopped from one watering hole to the other.

    • Gumby Rules

      Please post your facts, I am interested. While I agwree whole heartedly that the DWI and DUI drivetrs need to be takne off our Texas roads I do want to know the facts.

      The only facts I can find are 955 deaths 2009 from drunk drivers in Texas.

      3415 Texans KIA in Viet Nam between 1959 and 1975 (16 years). That averages to 213.437 Texan deaths per year in VN.

      And while our congress is at it, please do something about these idiots trying (pretending) to drive and pay attention while talking on their cell phones, or worse yet, texting.

      • Todd

        That isn’t alot.Sounds like MADD static which are never true.

        I wouldn’t stop at these check points,let them try and stop me for nothing.

    • ZZ

      Rich and powerful? Since you’re throwing around statistics, it’s a well-known fact that those of lower incomes abuse alcohol and drugs more so than “the rich”.

  • conserned conservitive

    Big government is back under the new majority in Austin..

  • Jordan Edwards

    @OSO you’re “druggies” statistic sounds made up. I’d be curious to know where you found those statistics. I’ve never heard of a “druggie” killing anyone with a car, unless alcohol was also involved.

  • Steve

    I would rather see Police Officers in my neighborhood.

    • conserned conservative

      There isn’t enough money to be made arresting criminals in your neighborhood. Check points are all about making money.

  • Jordan Edwards

    Not to mention privacy laws force Police to inform the public in advance where these checkpoints are going to be. If all the drunks know where NOT to drive, how effective could these things really be? Sounds like a big waste of money for a small benefit.

  • carrbow

    They will catch a lot of cops too.

    • ZZ

      Just Fort Worth cops.

  • Brian Mosier

    NO !!!!!!!! This is against the law. You are stopping people for no reason. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • NoMoreGov

    Doesn’t matter what you want it only matters what you can do under the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That is your law. Check points are flat out illegal no matter what the vote.

    When they ask for your papers on the way to the showers will you care then?

    • schrodinger

      The SCOTUS deemed checkpoints as Unconstitutional in one breath, but turned around and de facto allowed them under the guise of “security”.

      I have to ask, what is the “PROBABLE CAUSE” to stop someone at a checkpoint? Being out at 2 am? That pretty much makes a person a suspect if they happen to work late. Being a guy? Being a person of color– or a woman (oh my, she might be a prostitute!)?

      The Fourth Amendment says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness. This clause has been used to make most of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states, as well as to recognize substantive and procedural rights.

      This language has long been interpreted by the court to mean that probable cause is required for all searches. Without probable cause a search was per se unreasonable. The one exception to this is the Terry stop, which allows an officer having a reasonable suspicion to perform a limited pat down for weapons. Because the sobriety checkpoints are random they can hardly be said to be based on probable cause. And what is the “reasonable suspicion” for stopping cars at random (or even EVERY car) at a sobriety checkpoint?

      The Constitution of the United States clearly says that police can’t just stop someone and conduct an investigation unless there are “articulable facts” indicating possible criminal activity. So how can they do exactly that with drunk driving roadblocks? Good question. And it was raised in the case of Michigan v. Sitz, in which the Michigan Supreme Court striking down DUI roadblocks as unconstitutional. In a 6-3 decision, however, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Michigan court, holding that they were constitutionally permissible.

      Chief Justice Rehnquist began his majority opinion by admitting that DUI sobriety checkpoints do, in fact, constitute a “seizure” within the language of the Fourth Amendment. In other words, yes, it appears to be a blatant violation of the Constitution. However, he continued, it’s only a little one, and something has to be done about the “carnage” on the highways caused by drunk drivers. The “minimal intrusion on individual liberties,” Rehnquist wrote, must be “weighed” against the need for — and effectiveness of — DUI roadblocks. In other words, the ends justify the means.

      The dissenting justices pointed out that the Constitution doesn’t make exceptions: The sole question is whether the police had probable cause to stop the individual driver. As Justice Brennan wrote, “That stopping every car might make it easier to prevent drunken driving… is an insufficient justification for abandoning the requirement of individualized suspicion… The most disturbing aspect of the Court’s decision today is that it appears to give no weight to the citizen’s interest in freedom from suspicionless investigatory seizures.”

      Rehnquist’s justification for ignoring the Constitution rested on the assumption that DUI roadblocks were “necessary” and “effective.” Are they? As Justice Stevens wrote in another dissenting opinion, the Michigan court had already reviewed the statistics on DUI sobriety checkpoints/roadblocks: “The findings of the trial court, based on an extensive record and affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals,” he wrote, “indicate that the net effect of sobriety checkpoints on traffic safety is infinitesimal and possibly negative.”

      So once again, the Feds have proven that our Constitution is nothing more than a “worthless piece of paper”, and our rights are being stripped away one court case at a time.

  • Tic-Tac

    What’s the big deal? Plano PD already does them. They just say they are checking for registration and inspection violations. YEA! That’s why they have officers between the lanes and more down the road to pull you over. OH and did I mention they are doing this at 11PM. Seems a little late to be checking all that when most people are at home. But I’m sure they would have some excuse like officer safety or something. Just pass it and let the drunks find another route home.

    • Tom

      That’s illegal too ! They can run your plate and get that ino.

      • EndTheFed

        Exactly! They can’t pull you over just to check anything.

  • jim weatherford

    If you want to catch people who drink and drive just sit in the parking lot of every bar and lounge in Texas. Everybody comming out of the door is legally drunk. But this would be bad for business so we pretend that these people are really going to church in these bars instead of drinking. This is such a joke, we the people of texas are assumed by the politicians to be so stupid that we don’t see what this is really about. Its not about safety, it is about revenue. We could collect the same of more revenue in the bar parking lots but it would mean stepping on some of law inforcement and political toes,so we move it to the highway, so we can harass and delay the innocent.

  • J Thomas

    10,839 die at the hands of drunk drivers. The incovenience of a 10 munite stop is not too much to pay. Oh, I forgot, all you important people have just too much on your plate to assist your fellow man.

    • schrodinger

      The percentage of drivers who are drunk at DUI checkpoints is about 2% of all of the drivers who are stopped. That means that 98% of the drivers who are “inconvenienced” are not legally intoxicated (DUI).

      Now, let’s say that you encounter a DUI checkpoint, and there are 6 cars in a line ahead of you, each one being stopped for a DUI check. Now that “10 minute stop” becomes an hour.

      Would you say that a one hour “checkpoint” is more of an inconvenience than a 10 minute stop, or not?

      • Bauer

        Schrodchoad, What’s your source on those figures?

    • Mary

      wrong yet again

    • Herr Bauer

      J, it’s an issue of our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, genius. I happen to abhor these drunken losers, but I absolutely WILL NOT give up my RIGHTS as written in the United States Constitution for the sake of a “minor inconvenience” or any other reason for that matter.

  • Crash

    Where do we stop?
    Random House to House searches?
    How about checkpoints at all the town entrences to search for anything they consider contraband, including your papers authorizing your travel?
    We should be fighting Road Blocks, Seat Belt use, Air Bags, Crumple zones.
    The more people we kill on the highways, mean less that will be disapointed when SS goes broke. Or maybe SS will go on for another 50 years before it goes broke.

  • shellie rahier hicks

    we are fighting to wars, so people in other country’s, can have rights and freedom, but yet OUR rights are being stripped away little by little,, whats next, a check point, to see if your smoking??

    • Jack Boots

      “Your papers, please” was a pretty commonly used expression in 1930s-1940s Germany. We’re not too far from that.

  • darrell

    besides being unconstitutional the real drive behind this bill has nothing to do with drunk driving. this is all about a “legal” remedy to increase non-tax revenue through deferred adjudication. millions of dollars annualy could be at stake for communities with large venue events. entertainment districts become “canned hunt” zones for law enforcement.

  • Todd

    I thought the republican tea terrorist were against BIG govenment ! I guess not.

  • Jonathan Bellew

    I like how real it got on here…..

  • CB

    I like corn.

  • Reeper

    I’m all for it, won’t bother me at all.
    Stopping people for no reason, reason is a matter of public safety. How can you x-ray and shake down people at an airport-same reason.
    As for National laws that is exactly why Amendments where allowed to be made because they knew times would change along with problems becoming more severe. I’m sure in those days drunks shot people or ran over them with horses, yet back then they were killed on the spot no questions asked or waiting for a cop. In those days they highly defended themselves, yet we have had those rights stripped away. Because they protected themselves-personally killed offenders even in public places, they also wanted protection from authority figures who in the past had always abused their powers in all other Nations. We can no longer easily protect ourselves in public places (cost’s to carry a gun) and I’m sure if you killed a drunk driver you’d be in a heap of trouble even if they nearly hit you. Someone molested their child back then they where found and killed-no questions asked, think that’s legal today-nope. You are not living in their time with the rights they had, thus you cannot say one thing applies while all else doesn’t. If you think water boarding/wire tapping is necessary for the protection of your life, I think these stops are needed to protect my life-practice what you preach, what applies to 1 should apply to all.

    As for statistic’s it doesn’t matter until someone you yourself love is lost being 1 to many killed by someone that is never thinking of anybody but themselves. As for me I don’t have to suffer such a loss to think 1 is 1 too many or that I could be next. I’ve had to turn out my lights to avoid being hit at night while getting off the road long before cell phones came along. Read up on how many drunks make it out alive due to their lack of fear vs. how many they kill or severely injure for life-rarely do the drunks end up that way-there‘s your statistics to think about.

    I think they also need to check other things required by the state like inspection stickers, insurance and tags. People might forget a yearly sticker since there is no notice about them, but insurance and tags they couldn’t easily forget thus they should rate tickets and warnings for inspection stickers. Think of the loot they could haul in, locally I’ve seen lots of out-dated inspection stickers. I’m also tired of following laws and paying for what others don’t.

    • Herr Bauer

      Reeper, lynch mobs weren’t legal in the wild west, nor was vigilantism. People turned a blind eye to it, but it was never allowed by law. What an absolutely asinine comparison to make. You’re an idiot.

      • Reeper

        West may have been wild back then, but we are talking about right after the American Revolution when the Bill of Rights and Constitution where formed and not Texas or the West.
        As I recall before that European Soldiers where the law and order, thus right after that came the birth of our own law and order.
        More so than today, back then they had vast amounts of not very populated area’s so that law and order hired men was few and far between, thus people and not hired protectors filled those shoes. Back then it wasn’t considered vigilantes, it was considered survival in a sparsely populated wilderness. Yes some towns had law and order quickly, yet the farmers, mountain men, settlers and explorers where often on their own to defend themselves.
        I agree I’m an idiot, thank-you for reminding me of that point.
        You will soon learn the only ones left in this Nation with freedom are those who are greedy and corrupt, rest of us have to pay more for those that don’t until we get to a point we reach the New Revolution which will get rid of all greed/corruption in both the public and private sectors and put this Nation back to where it was suppose to be without it ever getting into the public sector and that sector gets it out of the private sector. What do you really think made the Cold War go away and Russia to fall-the same thing that is happening to us. Idiotic isn’t it.

  • Herr Bauer

    What ever happened to a little thing called “probable cause”?! I don’t drink, and would like all the drunks taken off the road, but this is clearly a violation of improper search and seizure. Oh, and before anyone calls me a lib, I am a 100% right wing Reagan Conservative, thank you very much.

  • Herr Bauer

    Welcome to the Police State, brought to you by “Slick Rick” Perry, Barack “Inane” Obama, his predecessor, George “Worthless” Bush, and countless other politicians, all supposedly looking out for our own good, and all of the same ilk, regardless if they have a D, an R, and L, or an I next to their name. The United Totalitarian States of America is upon us, ladies and gents! Enjoy your stay and watch the cattle prods!

  • Me and You

    Everything is done to make our life “safer” – Dear politicians…. safety is one thing, putting the entire nation into a padded room is quite another.

    I liked my life growing up better than I do this sanitized, politically correct, boring life you people have made for us. I can’t take a knife with me, whether I’m hunting or fishing, or just going to work, without putting it in the back of my car for fear I’ll be arrested for “Carrying a concealed weapon” (which happened to me by the way). I can’t have a beer at dinner without worrying whether or not the possibility of a cop stopping me for a simple traffic infraction might have serious consequences. I can’t tell a child to stop bullying my son for fear I might go to jail. I can’t state my opinion for fear it might offend others. I can’t pray in a public place or put a cross on a soldier’s grave in a public place. I can’t believe in my nation anymore because the vocal minority feels left out and shunned. My expired inspection sticker is now a moving violation and costs me 128 dollars in which I have to enter a plea agreement with the prosecutor. My gas prices are so high due to so much government taxation that it’s practically impossible for me to take a road trip and see America. If my son does something wrong, I can’t discipline him the way I see fit without someone else possibly watching me to make sure I do it properly… and if I cross the line, in their eyes, I can get in trouble. I can’t do anything except do my very best to make a lot of money, and pay an enormous amount of taxes.

    This is not the United States nor the State of Texas I grew up in. It has changed so much in 20 years that I actually feel as if I’m living in another country.

  • darrell

    i think i could support this bill if they threw in arrest and deportation of illegals discovered during the process.

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