October 2017

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Are DUI checkpoints legal?

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The Legal Justification of DUI Checkpoints

In many states, police set up driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoints to check for impaired or drunk motorists. Typically, these checkpoints are established on busy roads and highways during holidays when motorists are notorious for abusing alcohol and drugs. These checkpoints are roadblocks where officers randomly stop vehicles and interview the motorists for signs of intoxication. DUI checkpoints have come under a lot of criticism for going against the fourth amendment rights. Here is a look at the legal justification of DUI checkpoints.

 

A U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on DUI Checkpoints

In a 1990 case, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling that legitimized DUI checkpoints. The ruling held that being stopped at a DUI checkpoint does not violate a citizen’s rights against unreasonable searches and seizures as provided by the Fourth Amendment. This ruling has caused many to question the definition of an unreasonable search.

 

Reasonable and Unreasonable Searches

A reasonable search is one conducted when there is probable cause. For example, when a police searches you after an arrest, it is considered to be a reasonable search because they have probable cause that you have committed an offense. However, because a police officer has no probable cause for stopping you at a checkpoint, this amounts to an unreasonable search. This means that the one exception to the Fourth Amendment’s rule on unreasonable searches and seizures is when it entails DUI checkpoints.

 

Why Are DUI Checkpoints Constitutional?

Before the infamous Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints, a Michigan court passed judgment on what constitutes unreasonable seizure. The Supreme Court did not contest their argument and instead stated that this exception of the 4th Amendment was needed for protection. The court argued that this form of unreasonable seizure is necessary in light of the threat that intoxicated drivers pose to the public.

 

What Grounds Must Be Met for a Dui Checkpoint to Be Valid?

According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Board, for a DUI search and seizure to be legal, the following criteria must be met:

  •    The checkpoint should be established by the senior authorities of law enforcement agencies and not randomly by the officers in the field.
  •    Law agencies should apply good judgment when determining where the checkpoints are to be placed and for how long they should last.
  •    Checkpoints should be mounted at reasonable places such as in areas with high numbers of alcohol related incidents, accidents, and arrests.
  •    Checkpoints should be set up in a safe manner. This means there should be proper lighting, signals, warning signs, and police vehicles should be easy to spot.
  •    Motorists should be detained only for the purpose of questioning them and determining whether or not they are impaired.
  •    The DUI checkpoint operation must be publicized before it is executed.

 

When is a DUI Checkpoint Illegal?

If you have been stopped at a DUI checkpoint and the following conditions have not been met, you can make a claim against an unlawful search and seizure. Some of the defenses that your lawyer can make for you include:

Wrongful detention: This defense will apply when you are held longer than is necessary to determine whether or not you are sober.

The operation was not public knowledge: This defense applies where the authorities did not post a public notice that they would be executing a DUI checkpoint operation. Your lawyer can claim you never knew about the operation and; therefore, the search and seizure was unconstitutional.

The operation lasted longer than the authorities had announced: This defense can be used if you are stopped and arrested outside the required time frame for the operation.

The checkpoints were unreasonable: If you are stopped at an unreasonable location, your lawyer will argue that the checkpoint was mounted at an area with a low risk of drunken driving accidents, incidents, or arrests.

 

 

If you were arrested for a DUI at a checkpoint and you feel your rights were violated, it’s important to contact a criminal defense attorney such as the DUI lawyer Fairfax VA locals trust immediately.

Albo & Oblon Attorney and counselors at lawThanks to authors at Albo Oblon LLP for their insight into Criminal Defense Law.

Crossfit, Liability Waivers, and Personal Injury

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Crossfit has become a prominent name in fitness. From the Crossfit Games to the Crossfit apparel and of course, the Crossfit gyms, like the highly rated Crossfit Gym Bethesda MD residents trust; it’s hard to not be familiar with the brand. Crossfit is program, gym, competition designed to build and test the fitness of individuals in the workout scene.

 

What occurs in a Crossfit gym?

 

Crossfit attempts to increase cardiovascular endurance and raw strength. This is partly accomplished through the method of circuit training. Circuit training consists of several different exercises performed consecutively as a means of maintaining a higher heart rate and activating multiple muscle groups. Of course, not all Crossfit workouts consist of circuit training but many tend to. This fast paced environment can result in participants compromising on their technique when lifting. Unfortunately, compromised technique can lead to injury for the participant. If a participant is injured during a Crossfit workout, is the Crossfit establishment liable?

 

Crossfit Personal Injury Suits

 

In 2016, a personal injury case in Missouri was ruled in favor of the participant and required Crossfit HQ and its affiliate to pay out $400,000 to the plaintiff. Although the plaintiff was deemed to be 50% responsible for his injuries, he was still awarded a substantial amount of money.

 

What is a liability waiver?

 

Most Crossfit gyms will require you to sign a liability waiver in some form or another. For the most part, a liability waiver is an agreement between the participant and the establishment relinquishing the establishment of their liability for injury sustained by the participant. Sometimes this is referred to as a “release of liability”. Usually, these waivers are legally binding. However, there are circumstances in which the waiver may not hold up in court. The circumstances can involve the waiver’s format, language, representation, or content failing to meet legal requirements.

 

Personal Injury Suit

 

Although there have not been many suits to go to trial against Crossfit, it does not inherently mean that a participant suffering a Crossfit related injury is without a case. Immediately following an injury, the victim should contact a personal injury lawyer. The lawyer may ask the individual to provide their account of the events. The lawyer may also investigate the condition of the gym and its equipment. The lawyer may even ask questions to evaluate whether or not gross negligence was involved at the time and location of the injury. Cases of this category can be complex and require the experience and knowledge of a professional injury lawyer.

 

crossfit-hardshells-Gaithersburg-marylandThanks to our friends and contributors from Crossfit Hardshells for their insight into crossfit fitness.