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Sobriety checkpoints should be illegal

By Scott Tibbs, August 27, 2010

Tonight, the Indiana State Police will be conducting a "sobriety checkpoint" somewhere in Monroe County. According to an e-mail from the Indiana State Police, "vehicles that come through the checkpoint will be stopped. The driver will be asked to produce their driverís license and registration for the vehicle." Sober drivers who have not committed a violation can expect to be delayed for two or three minutes.

Is it just me, or does this sound very totalitarian?

This is simply wrong, folks. The police should not be stopping every driver who happens to be traveling a certain stretch of road and demanding that they show their papers. Law abiding citizens should not be stopped by law enforcement simply for driving down a perfectly legal road at the "wrong" time.

I cannot see how this is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment, the text of which follows.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

How exactly is it reasonable to require that everyone produce his papers, rather than stopping only those who are driving in a way that creates reasonable suspicion?

It would be nice to see the Indiana ACLU file a lawsuit against this infringement on liberty, but that should not be necessary. Instead, the state legislature should pass a law making these checkpoints illegal. Such a law should pass 100-0 and 50-0, and voters should punish anyone who votes against it.