DUI Checkpoints: Is It Illegal to Warn Drivers About Them?
A man in Ohio has been arrested and charged with “obstructing official business” for holding a sign warning drivers of a DUI checkpoint ahead. He is fighting the charge, saying that any law against warning motorists is a violation of the First Amendment. The man also recorded his interaction with the police:
Should warning drivers of a DUI checkpoint be illegal?
Keep in mind that the courts have ruled that drivers have a First Amendment right to warn other motorists of speed traps ahead by flashing their lights at oncoming traffic. Law enforcement agencies already publish when and approximately where upcoming DUI checkpoints take place, due to a 1990 US Supreme Court ruling.
It’s worth considering that the sign the Ohio man was holding simply said “Check Point ahead! Turn now!” It’s arguable that the sign was directed at all drivers going that way, not just impaired drivers, and didn’t specifically warn what type of checkpoint was up ahead. But should this even matter?
I think the courts will rule that arresting someone for a DUI checkpoint warning sign is a violation of the First Amendment, but we will wait to see what happens.