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Drunk-Driving Roadblocks Under State Constitutions: A Reasonable Alternative to Michigan v. Sitz

NCJ Number
Criminal Law Bulletin Volume: 28 Issue: 3 Dated: (May-June 1992) Pages: 195-217
T J Hickey; M Axline
Date Published
23 pages
This article reviews the emergence of State constitutional law as an effective means of extending individual rights; State constitutional provisions that limit the use of drunk-driving roadblocks are used to illustrate the point.
State constitutional protections are often substantially broader than those provided by the U.S. Constitution; however, many lawyers continue to ignore this source of individual rights and fail to brief State constitutional issues in appropriate cases. One possible explanation for this failure is that U.S. lawyers, long accustomed to arguing Federal constitutional claims, lack an understanding of the role of State constitutions in the U.S. legal system. The authors review the historical justifications for a State constitutional analysis and suggest a methodology for presenting these claims. This is a 2-step process. The first step involves the development of potential constitutional arguments. The second step consists of a determination of which of these arguments is most likely to be successful in a specific jurisdiction. The authors examine sobriety checkpoint stops to illustrate how State constitutional law can be effectively used to extend the rights of the accused, given the erosion of Federal prohibitions against sobriety checkpoint stops under the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz (1990). 131 footnotes