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Utah Bill Would Ban DUI Checkpoints

February 13, 2012  | 

Law enforcement officials and drunken driving opponents argued Friday that Utah should maintain the practice of setting up checkpoints to catch DUI drivers on the streets.

But a House committee disagreed, approving HB140 sponsored by Rep. David Butterfield, R-Logan, who made the case that the checkpoints infringe on Utahns' civil liberties, are an ineffective way of catching drunken drivers and should be done away with, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.

"We have to decide what is the balance between effective law enforcement ... and protecting constitutional and civil rights," Butterfield told the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. "That's why we're gathered here. That's what we do."

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Morning Eagle @ 2/14/2012 3:48 AM

DUI checkpoints can be a valuable tool when properly conducted in strategic locations. Of course they cannot catch all of them but neither can emphasis patrols but does that mean those should be stopped too? How about worrying more about "protecting the constitutional and civil rights" of law-abiding people to safely use public highways than those of people who would drink and drive? Perhaps that DUI that slipped past a checkpoint that wasn't there any longer might be the one that could slam head on in to Rep. Butterfield's vehicle. Then if he and his family survived, how would he feel about this proposed imbecilic law? This is a nebulous thing that is impossible to measure. No one can say how many lives might have been spared or injuries avoided when a single DUI is apprehended. Something that didn't happen because a DUI was arrested at a checkpoint before he or she killed someone can't be measured. If a person has not been drinking or doing other drugs and is properly licensed to drive, the momentary inconvenience of a checkpoint should not be resented. Instead, the efforts being made to keep unsafe drivers off the road ought to be appreciated, not legislated against.

Ernest @ 2/14/2012 8:44 AM

This issue can be sen both ways. I do not drink at all - I was stopped at a 'sobriety checkpoint' -0 then I was asked to show my driver's license and insurance card! - what does that have to do with sobriety? NOTHING!!
I asked the policeman if he thought that I was drunk or had been drinking? Hr replied, that he did not - I then asked, 'then why do you want to see my license and insurance card?'
As you can see, this is the easy encroachment upon civil liberties that is being discussed here. And this stuff is happening all the time EVERYWHERE!!!.
So, much so, that even our government has signed into law a bill that would allow the president, to order the military to ARREST AMERICAN CITIZENS on the presumption of the president alone, without any laws to protect the citizen etc etc etc.
I am on the side of protecting our liberties at any, and all cost!
As Franklin (Benjamin, that is )had said years ago, "Those who shall give up liberty for security, deserve neither' - that might be a paraphrase.

Ben @ 2/14/2012 12:07 PM

@Ernest- Asking for such things as your driver’s license and insurance card are what we in Law Enforcement call "DIVIDED ATTENTION TASKS" that help us determine if the driver is or is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. I would think you or your family getting hit by a drunk driver is a lot more of an encroachment upon your civil liberties than being stopped for a couple of minutes just like everybody else has to that enters the sobriety checkpoint.

@ Morning Eagle- well said! There is also the "risk of apprehension" that helps keep people from operating a motor vehicle under the influence as long as the media is properly notified about the sobriety checkpoint system. They are scared of getting caught and thus don’t drive. Everybody has a cell phone in today’s society and all they have to do is call somebody and not drive. Not hard. Sobriety Checkpoints are a good proactive tool to help make our streets safer for our families.

@Representative David Butterfield- You can't catch fish if you don't have a hook in the water Representative David Butterfield. It must be a typo that there is an "R" by your name.

Marshal @ 2/15/2012 2:01 PM

@ Ben and Morning Eagle. Well put. My understanding of when we do the checkpoints is that we have to give the motorist an out so they don't have to drive through the check point. So therefore if someone drives through our checkpoint it was there own decision not to turn off before getting to it. So how is that any violation of a person's rights if they chose to drive into the checkpoint? Unless other states do their checkpoints differently.

David @ 2/16/2012 9:46 AM

In NC the driver must go through a checkpoint. If they turn to avoid the checkpoint, they will get pulled over. Also in NC if a driver is suspended for DUI/DWI and gets charged with anouther DUI/DWI the Veh that is being operated is seized and sold at auction. With the money from the sale going to the local Board of Education.

WV Sheepdog @ 3/2/2012 6:56 AM

@Ernest - you forget that driving is a privilege and not a right, so there are no infringement on your civil liberties when Law Enforcement requests to see the documents which would prove you are in compliance with the licensing and registration requirements of you state.

@Morning Eagle and Ben. Well said. In WV, the police have to publish in advance the locations of DUI checkpoints.

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