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Are Tennessee laws followed in drunk driving stop?

The release of a video by a man stopped at a DUI checkpoint has raised some concerns by citizens. A Tennessee college student recorded a drunk driving stop that was being conducted by a local Sheriff's Department where he claims his Constitutional rights were violated. After six days, the Sheriff's department responded that they believe that their officers fully complied with the man's rights.

The video shows an officer approaching the man's window and asking him to roll it down. When the man says that his partially rolled down window was sufficient, the officer tells him to pull over to the side of the road. The officer then tells the man to get out of his car where they ask him for consent to search his vehicle. When the man refuses, police call in a K-9 unit to sniff the outside of the vehicle.

The man contends that at no time during the stop did officers ask him any questions about whether he had been drinking that night. Police responded that the police need to be able to fully evaluate a driver for signs of impairment and that the partially rolled down window did not allow the officer to do so. At this time, no charges have been filed against the man.

Drunk driving checkpoints allow Tennessee police to perform certain actions, which can only be escalated if they have reason to believe that a criminal offense has been committed. Each incident carries with it unique circumstances that need to be evaluated and referenced with applicable Tennessee law. If it is found that laws were violated, this could serve as the basis to request that a judge dismiss the case as a result of state or federal constitutional violations.

Source: USA Today, "Sheriff breaks silence on viral DUI checkpoint video," Becca Andrews, July 11, 2013

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