U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Drug Roadblocks: A Constitutional Perspective

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 68 Issue: 11 Dated: November 1999 Pages: 27-32
Kimberly A. Crawford J.D.
Date Published
6 pages
This article discusses designing drug roadblocks to satisfy Fourth Amendment requirements and the scrutiny of a balancing test developed by the Supreme Court.
The article examines the issues surrounding the use of various types of drug roadblocks from a constitutional perspective and offers some legal and practical considerations for law enforcement agencies contemplating using these techniques. To satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, roadblocks must be reasonable. Courts evaluating the lawfulness of roadblocks consider three factors: (1) the gravity of the public concerns that are addressed or served by the establishment of the roadblock; (2) the degree to which the roadblock is likely to succeed in serving the public interest; and (3) the severity with which the roadblock interferes with individual liberty. The article discusses single-purpose and mixed-motive roadblocks; significance of motorists' efforts to evade; and using dogs to detect drugs. Notes