^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
4
| Crime |

A Look at the Latest Proposed Legislation Calling for Statewide Sobriety Checkpoints

As The American Independent reminds this morning, there have been myriad bills proposed in the Texas Legislature in recent years that would allow for the creation of so-called sobriety checkpoints. And last year's S.B. 298 -- submitted by state Sen. John Corona and co-authored by, among others, his colleague from Dallas, Royce West -- got this close to becoming a reality, having passed the Texas Senate before it died a slow, quiet death in May 2009 thanks to a House committee.

Which is why state Rep. Todd Smith of Euless is back with yet another piece of proposed legislation: H.B. 439, introduced late last week. As TAI points out, this is Smith's fifth try at making sobriety checkpoints, which Mothers Against Drunk Driving has long pushed for, a reality. But a close read of his latest proposal reveals some tweaks to previous proposals. Patrick Brendel summarizes thusly:

Officers would have more limited authority at the sobriety checkpoints than during regular traffic stops. For example, Smith's House Bill 439 prohibits an officer from asking for a driver's license or proof of insurance unless he/she has reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe the person is or was breaking the law. The legislation also has guidelines for how often checkpoints can be held at certain locations, how long the inquiries can last, how the checkpoints must be advertised and what officials must first authorize the checkpoint.

As in: Before a local law enforcement can set up a checkpoint, they have to explain why there, why now. Says the bill, agencies have to ...

... include the number of traffic accidents in the vicinity of the location in which the use of alcohol was a factor and that occurred in the preceding 12 months and the number of arrests for intoxication-related offenses in that vicinity in the preceding 12 months. The selection of the location of a sobriety checkpoint must be made without regard to the ethnic or socioeconomic characteristics of the area in which the checkpoint is located.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.