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DWI checkpoints net high arrest numbers

Police in New York often cast a very wide net when cracking down on drunk driving during major holidays such as this past Labor Day. Such a broad search is likely to return false positives due to the nature of field sobriety testing. Repercussions for those charged with DUI or DWI can include the loss of their driver's licenses and major increases in insurance costs.

DWI checkpoints are one way that police charge a sizeable number of people with DWI in a single night. For example, a sobriety checkpoint about 130 miles southwest of Poughkeepsie in Suffolk County inspected 1,002 drivers to determine if they were drunk. The checkpoint was a joint venture involving several county and state agencies.

Out of those 1,002 vehicles, 12 drivers who passed through the checkpoint were charged with DWI-related offenses. One vehicle was also seized at the checkpoint because the driver will now face a repeat DWI charge.

As with many mass drunk-driving arrests, police in this story released the names of the accused to the media before the defendants have even been tried. This can result in backlash from friends, co-workers and neighbors and dramatically impact a person's reputation in the community even if charges are later found to be inappropriate or dropped entirely.

Those charged with such an offense should seek to understand the evidence presented against them and how the methods used by police and other officials can affect the DWI case. Not everyone who is accused of drunk driving is guilty, and the last thing a defendant should do is give up. There may be aspects of the arrest that call for a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Source: Port Jefferson Patch, "12 Accused of DWI in Port Jefferson Station," Sept. 1, 2012

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