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Wisconsin lawmaker says he would support sobriety checkpoints

The issue has come up before, but the push to implement sobriety checkpoints has been brought up again in Wisconsin. The idea is still facing opposition from civil liberties proponents, who see sobriety checkpoints as an infringement on personal rights. Representative Dean Kaufert of Neenah has long opposed such a measure. A tavern owner himself, he said, "The Legislature is not ready for checkpoints."

Right now, there are 38 states that already use checkpoints as a way of sizing up drivers' sobriety. Last week, we discussed the package of DUI-related bills recently put before state legislators, but that legislation does not include a measure to provide legal grounds for implementing checkpoints.

But Senator Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee indicated that he is "moving in that direction." He suggested using checkpoints on days when drunk-driving arrests usually increase, such as on New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day and Thanksgiving.

Essentially, roadblocks would be set up, and police officers would look out for any suspicious activity in the vehicles that slowed down and came through.

Regardless of whether Wisconsin decides to use roadblocks to check for OWI, Sheboygan residents who find themselves accused of drunk driving need to know how the law relates to their specific cases. The penalties for DUI increase significantly with each subsequent conviction. However, the breath tests and field sobriety tests already used in our state are not as accurate as many people assume.

An aggressive DUI defense may be able to call the results of a sobriety test into question, as well as seek a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Source:, "Prospect of sobriety checkpoints in Wisconsin draws support, ire," Andy Thompson, March 9, 2013

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