Attorney Steve Sabra, from Sabra and Aspden Law Offices of Somerset, talked on Law Talk about why there are road blocks on the streets, why they mention on the news and in the newspapers when and where they will be doing them in advance, and all the rules and regulations that come into play for setting up and operating drunk driving road blocks.
On the weekend of December 5, there was an announcement on the news that there would be a drunk driving road block in the Fall River, MA area on Friday, December 12 at night and into Saturday morning. The reason for the road block itself is that the police cannot randomly stop motorists, they need some type of reasonable suspicion; otherwise it’d be a violation of our Constitution, Article 14 of the Declaration of Rights in the 4th Amendment to our U.S. Constitution.
However, you can have a road block or a checkpoint to detect intoxicated drivers so long as it does not involve unfettered exercise of discretion by police. In other words, the U.S. Supreme Court will permit a road block where all drivers are required to stop or if there is a sequence of stopping cars, such as every third car, under certain guidelines. The guidelines require advanced planning, onsite control by supervisory personnel, a limitation of road blocks to areas with a recent history of accidents or drunk driving arrests, measures to promote safety, criteria for conducting sobriety, procedures for maintaining records, and advanced notice to local media to reduce surprise, fear, and inconvenience.
At a road block, they would stop the cars and the State Trooper has to determine whether there is reasonable suspicion that the driver is operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol, then they send the driver to another area where there is a more detailed examination by the police. That is why you will see these announcements on the news and in the newspapers.
5 Things to Do If You or Someone You Know Has Received a DUI For the First Time
Some states call it a DUI, driving under the influence, and others call it a DWI, driving while intoxicated, and it is illegal in all 50 states. It is taken very seriously and punished accordingly.
A first offense for a DUI is a very serious and life-altering experience. Nobody ever plans to get a DUI, and if you have recently been arrested for driving under the influence, you may not be sure as to what your next move and may have questions for how to get your life back on the right track.
If you live in the Somerset, MA area and you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI for the first time, you may be at a loss for what to do next. The following steps can help you get back on the right track:
Seek legal counsel. The first step in any DUI charge is to seek legal advice from an attorney. An attorney will handle your case and explain any questions you may have currently or going forward with this process. Also, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and each state have different laws concerning DUIs.
Go to court. It is imperative that you attend your court date and avoid getting into any further legal trouble. Within 30 days of arrest, it is mandated that a DUI offender appear before court or your state licensing authority.
Carry out your sentence. The judge of your court case may sentence any of the following punishments: fines, restriction of your license, probation, classes, and even jail time. It goes without saying that the severity of the punishment depends upon the severity of the offense and number of offenses. In order to move past this and get your license back, you must abide by the punishment.
Always have proper insurance on your person. If you have received a DUI, your insurance company will probably terminate your policy. It is a must to keep your insurance and a SR-22 form with you at all times for a minimum of three years. Depending upon the state, you will have to file an SR-22 as proof that you have the required proper insurance to drive. Your insurance carrier is required by law to notify the state licensing authority if your policy lapses, which causes the suspension of your driver’s license.
Receive your license back. After being convicted for a DUI, in most cases you will lose your license for a period of time. Once your suspension is up, you may receive a temporary restricted license allowing you to drive to work and any alcohol program you must attend if need be. To obtain your license again, you must complete your punishment, provide proof of insurance and your SR-22 form, and pay the fee to reissue your license.
After completing this process you are now able to get your license back and drive once again. Going through being arrested for a DUI is often a life-altering experience following the grueling task of going to court and carrying out the sentence. It also affects your personal life, as you are unable to drive for an extended period of time. This means you cannot drive yourself to work, school, or to any events to see family or friends. Hopefully the experience makes you think twice before drinking then driving and make the right decision. You can designate yourself or one of your friends to be a designated driver before going to a bar or party, or call a taxi or another friend or family member to drive you home then worry about making arrangements to get your car back from the bar the next day. The most important thing is your safety, the safety of your loved ones, and others.
For over 35 years, Sabra and Aspden Law Offices have been serving the Somerset, Fall River, New Bedford, Swansea, and Assonet areas. Sabra and Aspden are Southern New England’s best car accident and personal injury attorneys.