Nashville DUI Roadblocks and the 4th Amendment

Nashville DUI Roadblocks and the 4th Amendment

So how can the State of Tennessee set up a DUI Road block? Well they can, it all flows from the Supreme Court of the United States decision in Michigan v. Sitz. A Nashville Tennessee DUI Road Block is on it’s confront a violation of the 4th Amendment, however there are exceptions to the violation that the Supreme Court has recognized and so followed by our Tennessee Supreme Court in State v. Downey.

It is understood that the 4th Amendment provides protection from seizures, (ie being pulled over by the police), as such the police have to have probable cause to believe that you committed a traffic violation or articulable suspicion to stop you as a motorist.

In Michigan v. Sitz the Supreme Court of the United States held that a DUI Road block does not violate the 4th Amendment as long as certain requirements are met. So what are the requirements that the DUI Road Block must meet?

(1) The gravity of the public concerns served by the seizure
(2) The degree by which the seizure advances the public interest
(3) The severity of the interference with public liberty

The Tennessee Supreme Court used this case law from the Supreme Court of the United States to decide the case of State v. Downey, in Downey the Court stated the three part test to determine the Constitutionality of the Tennessee DUI Road Blocks. OK so how do they really apply here in Tennessee DUI Road Blocks?

(1) They must show a state interest that is so powerful that it allows an intrusion into your 4th Amendment rights to be free from unwarranted seizures, well the state did find a reason to justify the intrusion, and it was preventing Tennessee DUI under the right circumstances, ie the gravity of public concern in preventing Tennessee DUI.
(2) Does the Tennessee DUI Road Blocks work, ie, is it an effective tool, not just some random ineffective procedure. The court used statistics from prior situations to show effectiveness in this technique of preventing Tennessee DUI.
(3) Make the interference with your liberty minimal as possible.

This is achieved in a Nashville Tennessee DUI Road Blocks by setting out guidelines that each Road block must follow. These guidelines are things like adequate warnings, length and character of each detention they make, (meaning how long they keep up each car). Safety of Nashville Tennessee DUI Road Blocks, and stopping both directions of traffic.

Posted by Daniel L. McMurtry

leave your comment