According to a recent news report, drivers in Middlesex County will see more drunk driving checkpoints, sometimes referred to as sobriety roadblocks, at all times of the year. The state of New Jersey has funded the operation of additional checkpoints with a $43,000 grant. Normally, the county would have sobriety roadblocks during certain holidays, however now it appears they will be a more permanent fixture.
As a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer, I have represented numerous motorists who have received summonses or been arrested for drunk driving or breath test refusal. While these checkpoints may reduce the number of drunk driving arrests in an area over time, they also can result in people being falsely accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
This latest announcement shows that Middlesex County, NJ, will be expanding its holiday DWI checkpoint program to year-round enforcement. The program will be supported in part by a $43,000 grant from the state Office of Highway Traffic Safety. According to news reports, these DWI checkpoints are very costly to run mainly because they require police officers to work overtime, plus there are additional costs for setting up and maintaining the roadblocks over the course of an evening to the early morning hours.
The grant will help pay for the cost to station officers randomly throughout the county.
Members of the Fatal Crash Investigation Unit (FCIU) will be used in the program. These investigators have a vast amount of experience in reviewing fatal crashes in the area. According to reports, a small percentage of fatal crashes — which are at a record low of just 42 incidents — are related to alcohol or drug impairment. However, authorities are quoted as saying that a large portion of the alcohol-impaired crashes involve drivers between the ages of 17 to 21 years.
DWI checkpoints will be set up year-round, Suburban.GMNews.com, November 5, 2009