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College students may want to look out for roadblocks after games

As a student at North Carolina State, you may have a great sense of school spirit and pride, especially during this time of year with football season well underway. You may attend home games, wear your school colors and do your best to cheer on your team. Of course, you likely also go to the games in order to have a fun time with your friends and other classmates, which may include taking part in a variety of activities.

After the game ends, you likely want to get home as soon as possible. You likely know, however, that traffic will be a nightmare, and police action could contribute to delays. When authorities know that a major event is happening, they may choose to set up roadblocks in order to determine whether drivers have broken the law.

What is a checkpoint?

A roadblock or sobriety checkpoint typically involves police officers setting up roadblocks to check drivers for signs of impairment as they pass through certain areas. Drivers cannot travel through the area unless an officer deems them unimpaired and makes sure that no traffic violations or other issues present themselves. Officers may choose to check every vehicle or stop vehicles at regular intervals.

Are checkpoints legal?

You may hold a similar opinion to other people who believe that checkpoints violate citizens' rights. However, in 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that these checkpoints and searches were reasonable and that these roadblocks help ensure public safety. As a result, the court considered the benefits more important than concerns about violating drivers' privacy.

Still, 12 states have deemed checkpoints unlawful, and, therefore, those states do not conduct them. However, North Carolina is not among those 12 states, which means that you could end up stopped at a checkpoint sometime.

What if the police arrest you?

Arrests for various violations can take place at these roadblocks. If an officer suspects that you have taken drugs, are in possession of a controlled substance or are driving on a suspended or revoked license, he or she may search your vehicle or detain you for questioning. If the officer believes probable cause exists, you could end up under arrest for a drug or traffic violation.

Fortunately, an arrest is not where your case ends. You still have the ability to create and present a defense against the charge you face. You certainly do not want a conviction to negatively impact your college and professional careers. Working with an attorney may allow you to determine your best courses of action for reaching positive outcomes.

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