11 arrested in Charlotte DWI Checkpoint 022315

LEGAL REFERENCE MATERIALS  – Tracking Checkpoint Locations 2015 Charlotte-Metro Region –
Charlotte DWI Checkpoint 022315 at 5th Street and N. Caldwell Street resulted in 11 motorists being arrested for Driving While Impaired.

Time of operation: 11 p.m. until 3 a.m.


METRICS – Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report these arrests and citations:

  • DWI – 11
  • Seatbelt violation – 1
  • Suspended license: 12
  • No operators license – 12
  • Open container violation – 4
  • Inspection violations – 5
  • Registration violations – 5
  • Other traffic violations – 6
  • Misdemeanor drug violations – 2

See Related:  Are DWI DUI Checkpoints Legal in North Carolina


What is the Primary Programmatic Purpose? 


Primary Programmatic Purpose

The United States Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue setting forth the precept that a trial court must first “examine the available evidence to determine the primary purpose of the checkpoint program.” City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 44, 46 (2000).

State v. Rose explains that proving there was a valid, legal programmatic objective for the checkpoint, is a burden that rests on the state.  Furthermore, “the State must present some admissible evidence, testimonial or written, of the supervisor’s purpose.” State v. Rose, 612 S.E.2d 336, 341 (2005)(emphasis added). The trial court must consider more than just the subjective intent of the participating officers and “specifically prohibits reliance on the individual arresting officer’s primary purpose or intent when inquiring into the programmatic purpose of the checkpoint.” State v. Burroughs, 648 S.E. 2d 561, 563 (2007).

If the State can prove that there was a valid programmatic purpose, it must still must prove thereasonableness of the checkpoint,  i.e. its constitutionality.  The court in State v. Rose stated that this inquiry requires a balancing of the public’s interest in protecting the citizenry against an individual’s privacy interests.

Specifically, the Court considered State v. Brown to enumerate factors of reasonableness, requiring consideration of the following “prongs” testing the legality of any checkpoint:

1) The gravity of the public concerns served by the seizure; and,

2) The degree to which the seizure advances the public interest and is appropriately tailored; and,

3) The severity of the interference with individual liberty. See State v. Brown, 443 U.S. 47 (1979).

When looking at the second prong in Brown and whether the checkpoint was appropriately tailored, the Appellate Court set forth specific considerations for Trial Court to weigh:

  • Why was there a particular need for a checkpoint in the particular area of the county?
  • Whether police offered any reason why a particular road or stretch of read was chosen?
  • What was the predetermined starting or ending time?
  • Why that time span was selected?

See Also: State v. Veazey, 662 S.E.2d 683, 690 (2008).

When considering the third prong in Brown, the Appellate Court mandates the Trial Courts further consider issues involving officer discretion and individual privacy. Those include:

Potential interference with legitimate traffic

  • Whether there was notice of approaching checkpoint
  • Was location chosen by supervising official, rather than by officers in the field
  • Whether officers stopped every vehicle or was there a set pattern
  • Whether field officers were subjected to any supervision
  • The amount of discretion afforded to the field officers

 Id. at 691  One of the more recent cases  that  adds to the legal inquiry was decided by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in February of 2014 is  State v. White.  The court emphasized the need to have a written plan in order to comply with NCGS 20-16.3A.  Of primary import was the strict scrutiny of the checkpoint against statutory authority.  As an exception to the 4th Amendment, checkpoints must fully and completely comply with statutory restrictions.


Bill Powers

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