N.H. House bill would ban DWI checkpoints

Dec 8, 2004
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#1
While local law enforcement officials defend drunken driving roadblocks and a defense attorney calls them an invasion of privacy and a waste of resources, a bill in the N.H. House would ban them altogether.

The bill is sponsored by Republican state Reps. Robert Malone of Belknap, George Lambert of Hillsborough and Seth Cohn of Merrimack, and it would "prohibit the establishment of sobriety checkpoints" statewide. Debate is scheduled to be heard today by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee at the Statehouse.

Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams said Seacoast sobriety checkpoints are "one of the tools used to try to reduce fatalities on the highways." The declining number of alcohol-related highway deaths in the state is evidence that they work, he said.

In 2009, there were 32 alcohol-related driving deaths in New Hampshire, down from 53 in 2005, and 57 in 2001, said Reams.

"So there's a pretty substantial drop," he said. "It's been pretty effective."

Defense attorney Ryan Russman, who authored a book about driving-while-intoxicated law, said the drop in numbers has nothing to do with checkpoints, but rather "greater public awareness." He said, if the same number of police officers staffing checkpoints were deployed to conduct "roving patrols" in cruisers, "I would almost guarantee that there would be more arrests.

"If the state could show these roadblocks are effective, I would have a completely different argument, but they can't," said Russman. "It doesn't seem like an effective use of resources."

Portsmouth Police Chief Lou Ferland cited U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data stating communities that conduct sobriety checkpoints have a 20 percent reduction in drunken-driving incidents. In Portsmouth, he said, the number of drunken-driving arrests has decreased over the past five years, in direct correlation with increased sobriety checkpoints.

Ferland added that local DWI roadblocks, because they're advertised in advance without specific times or locations, serve as an effective deterrent. With the large number of businesses serving alcohol in Portsmouth, he said, local police arrest between fewer than 10 suspected drunken drivers every time there's a checkpoint.

"It's minimally invasive and gets an awareness out," said the Portsmouth police chief, who cited national data reporting 1 million injuries every year as a result of drunken driving.

Russman disagreed, calling the checkpoints "a serious intrusion into our privacy.

"You have an incredible intrusion," he said. "You have 400 or more innocent people, whose privacy is intruded, to capture three people accused of drunken driving," he said. "It breaks a boundary that we as Americans shouldn't have to put up with. (Police) don't even need a reasonable suspicion to see if a crime has been committed."

Reams noted that 98 percent of people stopped at Seacoast sobriety checkpoints, many of which he's staffed, have completed comment cards saying they support the effort. The stops last for one or two minutes, and officers who supervise the checkpoints are trained, ranking officers, he said.

Reams also said the New Hampshire and federal Supreme Courts have upheld the constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints.

Russman said he represented a client Tuesday in court who was arrested during an August checkpoint in Portsmouth. He said his client's DWI charge was reduced to reckless driving because police failed to prove the checkpoint was properly authorized by a Superior Court judge.

The prosecutor failed to provide a complete affidavit submitted to the Superior Court for approval of the checkpoint and did not offer a witness to testify that it was approved, Russman said.

"Using this tool paints with a broad brush," said Russman. "We, as a nation, deserve better."
State Rep. Laura Pantelakos serves on the House committee scheduled to debate the bill today. She said she'll oppose any effort to ban sobriety checkpoints.

"I don't care if they stop 400 to take three drunks off the road. Those three drunks won't kill my grandchildren," she said. "If you're not drinking and driving, you shouldn't have a problem with it."

Note this is the state that has State Liquor stores along the interstate highways.

Link
 

Don the Radio Guy

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#2
Good luck putting an end to the revenue stream. DUI harassment points won't go away any sooner than stop light cameras will. They're an easy way for the local police to rack up overtime, paid for with federal tax dollars, and the local government makes a killing off the incidental seat belt and other violations that inevitably account for 95% of the activity at the checkpoint.

Enough fucking retards have been scared into thinking everyone on the road but them is drunk and they'll sign away every single right they have for protection from the evil drunkards.
 
Jan 9, 2006
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#3
Good luck putting an end to the revenue stream. DUI harassment points won't go away any sooner than stop light cameras will. They're an easy way for the local police to rack up overtime, paid for with federal tax dollars, and the local government makes a killing off the incidental seat belt and other violations that inevitably account for 95% of the activity at the checkpoint.
SO true. If they were only allowed to check for sobriety and nothing else, I'd be much more in favor of them, but that's just the excuse they're using to stop your car. I'd love to see stats on the ratio of seat belt, inspection, and registration tickets given out at checkpoints vs actual DUI attests.
 

Stig

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#4
Note this is the state that has State Liquor stores along the interstate highways.
And no sales or income tax.
You can't drink in the car just because you bought the stuff along the highway, silly.
Anyway, I hope they do away with them. I don't drink outside of the home anymore, so it doesn't matter to me. But I do find them offensive.
 

Stig

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#6
Live Free Or Die, Indeed.*

Best. State. Ever.





*and people always bring that phrase up when things turn to tax discussions. Usually in dismissive terms with zero understanding that our state motto has nothing to do with the monetary definition of "Free."
I would say that it's somewhat akin to "Better to die on your feet than live on your knees."
 
Dec 8, 2004
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#7
And no sales or income tax.
You can't drink in the car just because you bought the stuff along the highway, silly.
Anyway, I hope they do away with them. I don't drink outside of the home anymore, so it doesn't matter to me. But I do find them offensive.
Yep I know... live like two towns in from the border.

And the town police always set up DWI check points where the tourists drive in or out of town. And all the police logs have (well during the summer) is so and so from MA/NY/PA arrested for OUI etc...
 

Sunsetspawn

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Dec 5, 2005
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#12
Good luck putting an end to the revenue stream. DUI harassment points won't go away any sooner than stop light cameras will.
Fuck those cameras. I've left many rubber trails from stopping at those things in Yonkers. Take my fuckin' money? Get the fuck outta here.
 

Jon the Cop

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Oct 20, 2008
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#13
DUI checkpoints are the biggest farce in law enforcement. Such a joke. I remember being involved with one in Missouri in 2004. We got one illegal mexican migrant worker drunk and one hillbilly drunk with a loaded hunting rifle in the trunk. Other than that, I think the stupor troopers wrote some stupid seatbelt tickets and maybe insurance tickets. Such a waste of five hours of my time. Indiana's dumb ass troopers do checkpoints here every other month or so. Just an excuse to justify the existence of the ISP in my opinion. They write equipment and other chickenshit tickets to try and make it look like they are doing anything worth while. 20-40 troopers and deputies stand around and get paid overtime to get MAYBE four drunks. It's about public safety my ass.
 

Party Rooster

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#14
DUI checkpoints are the biggest farce in law enforcement. Such a joke. I remember being involved with one in Missouri in 2004. We got one illegal mexican migrant worker drunk and one hillbilly drunk with a loaded hunting rifle in the trunk. Other than that, I think the stupor troopers wrote some stupid seatbelt tickets and maybe insurance tickets.
Out here in California they were making a killing being able to seize cars from unlicensed drivers.
http://californiawatch.org/public-s...prove-profitable-cities-raise-legal-questions
 

Jon the Cop

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Motor Head

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#16
More states are now passing the "Run and You're Done" laws. Basically, a law were if you run from the cops they can seize your car.....no way a rogue department would abuse that law.;)
 

Don the Radio Guy

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#17
SO true. If they were only allowed to check for sobriety and nothing else, I'd be much more in favor of them, but that's just the excuse they're using to stop your car. I'd love to see stats on the ratio of seat belt, inspection, and registration tickets given out at checkpoints vs actual DUI attests.
In another thread I posted stats from the ones here in Delaware. In one case there were something like 200+ tickets written for petty shit, 4 or 5 people picked up for active warrants for traffic tickets and zero drunks caught. Zero. The whole fucking thing is a way to suck up federal highway funds.
 
Dec 8, 2004
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#18
More states are now passing the "Run and You're Done" laws. Basically, a law were if you run from the cops they can seize your car.....no way a rogue department would abuse that law.;)
So we are not going to see one of these...



With state trooper markings then?
 

the Streif

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#19
So we are not going to see one of these...



With state trooper markings then?
I wonder if that's the one that got wrecked 10 minutes after being taken out for the first time or something like that. I think there is a thread here on it somewhere.

Edit: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/02/italian-police-crash-lamborghini-patrol-car/

and ,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...police-manage-write-150-000-Lamborghinis.html

aaaaaaand,

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/italian-lamborghini-police-car-crash.shtml
 

kidconnor

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Mar 16, 2005
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#20
The number of tickets outnumber the DUI arrests by a lot. A very wide margin. The towns, cities, counties, and states are making more money off tickets at these checkpoints than catching DUIs. But they do that anyway no? Just separately instead of at the same location and time.

One thing that can't be measured: are people less likely to drive drunk because of the possibility of a checkpoint? Take nights like new years and thanksgiving eve, even super bowl sunday. Does the knowledge that checkpoints exist deter people from drinking and driving? Does the possibility of running into a checkpoint make people think twice?


I don't know much about other states and seizing cars and shit. I was never a fan of checkpoints unless I was in the chase car. But the ticket revenue aside.... and probably the short term goal of checkpoints by most depts......
I'm just asking if anyone thinks they are
a)effective
b)somewhat effective or
c)not effective at all
at cutting down drunks on the road in the long run.
 
Dec 8, 2004
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#21
Well this is a seized car that got turned into a police car...





Apparently the previous owner had 10 kilos of blow... whoopsie...

Link

I know the Toronto cops (years ago) bought a Camero just for the Leslie Street spit due to people in their expensive sport cars would race down it...

 

d0uche_n0zzle

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Sep 15, 2004
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#22
I've never gone through any checkpoints, sober or under the influence. I avoid them like the plague due to their Nazi-ish similarities.
 

Stig

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Jul 26, 2005
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#23
Well this is a seized car that got turned into a police car...





Apparently the previous owner had 10 kilos of blow... whoopsie...

Link
So the owner got busted for coke, and the car says "Hoover Police?" Irony, or bad joke?
 

Stig

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#24
And by the way, laws where they can seize and keep your shit BEFORE you're tried and convicted are complete bullshit. How the FUCK does that pass constitutional muster?
 

DJ Evel Ed

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#25
Im meeting with my congressman today to discuss putting up School Free Drug Zone signs in my neighborhood.