If you have been stopped at a checkpoint and have been charged with any
violation or crime, there is a chance that the evidence in your case could
be suppressed, resulting in a dismissal of your charges.
The Court of Appeals recently held that if a law enforcement agency does
not have a written policy in place governing their traffic stop checkpoint
procedures, that the evidence obtained from a traffic stop during a checkpoint
could be suppressed. The court held that if the state wants to rely on
checkpoints to establish its stated objective of deterrence of impaired
driving, it must comply with G.S. 20-16.3A. The statute states, among
other things, that a written policy must exist to allow the law enforcement
agency to determine its compliance with existing state motor vehicle laws
in its operation of that checkpoint. In the case of
State v. White, the court held that the trial court did not err in suppressing the evidence
gathered at a checkpoint where the agency which carried out the checkpoint
did not have a written policy of procedure in place to set forth guidelines
for how they would stop vehicles, ask for license and registration, and
insurance information. The court held that the absence of a written policy
was a substantial violation of the provisions of G.S. 20-16.3A, and warranted
suppression of all evidence gathered during the checkpoint.
The holding of the Court of Appeals in
State v. White still leaves open the question of whether or not an officer's departure
from his department's written policy would be a proper basis for a
motion to suppress. The fact is, law enforcement agencies around the state
have varying standards for how the conduct checkpoint traffic stops. It
appears that there will be substantial changes in the near future for
all local agencies to comply with the provisions of G.S. 20-16.3A and
the recent holding in
State v. White.
For more information,
contact The Law Offices of Darrin M. Gamradt, P.C.