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OVI Checkpoints in Ohio

In some cases, checkpoints are illegal under the constitution in that state. Although checkpoints are illegal in several states, the State Courts in Ohio have routinely followed the precedent set by the Supreme Court in Sitz with the Ohio Supreme Court also finding that driver’s license checkpoints are constitutional.

The United States Supreme Court has also held that DUI or sobriety checkpoints are constitutional. Michigan Dept. of State Police, et al., v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990). The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality by using the following factors in a balancing test:

  • The subjective intrusion on individual liberties was not substantial.
  • The fact that checkpoints are generally effective; and
  • The State’s grave and legitimate interest in curbing drunk driving.

Ohio courts have used the same balancing test used in Sitz, to uphold the constitutionality of driver’s license checkpoints in this state. The Ohio Supreme Court also considered the following factors:

  • checkpoints are effective in advancing the State of Ohio's interest;
  • checkpoints are aimed at serving the vital interest of the State of Ohio of identifying unlicensed drivers so as to protect citizens from drivers who either were not qualified to drive or were forbidden to drive because of a record of driving offenses; and
  • checkpoint did not greatly intrude upon traveler’s sense of privacy.

Requirements of an Ohio Sobriety Checkpoint in Ohio

Ohio courts have held that all check points must have the following characteristics:

  • Standards for selecting the checkpoint location must be based on the history of alcohol related crashes;
  • Location for the checkpoint must have an area which allows vehicles to be diverted without creating a safety issue or a traffic backup;
  • A checkpoint location must be selected for its safety and visibility to oncoming motorists;
  • Adequate advance warning signs, illuminated at night, timely informing approaching motorists of the nature of the impending checkpoint with noticeable signs, barrels, and flashers;
  • Uniformed officers and official vehicles in sufficient quantity with visibility to "show the police power of the community;"
  • If there are deviations from the formulated criteria and standards, there must be a neutral and rational basis for doing so;
  • All those present and working the checkpoint shall be briefed as to the procedures to be employed;
  • The agency conducting the OVI checkpoint in Ohio must announce the time and location in advance though a media notice; and
  • A predetermination by policy-making administrative officers of the location, time, and procedures to be employed, pursuant to carefully formulated standards and neutral criteria.

Finding a OVI Defense Attorney for a Cincinnati Checkpoint

If you were stopped in a checkpoint or roadblock in Cincinnati or the surrounding areas in Hamilton County, Ohio, then contact an experienced Cincinnati OVI defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm.

Our attorneys represent clients throughout Hamilton County charged with a wide variety of OVI charges including a refusal or a breath test, blood test, or urine test. Call to discuss your case today.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, November 18, 2015.