In a Gazette Times editorial this week, the Corvallis paper opposed a Senate Bill that would allow police to set up DUII roadblocks in Oregon. Currently, Oregon is one of 12 states that do not set up DUII checkpoints, despite the authority granted by the 1990 US Supreme Court decision.
In the other 38 states, police departments announce the location of DUI roadblocks well in advance, and choose highly visible areas to reduce the risk of traffic accidents. At the DUII checkpoints, police funnel vehicles through the checkpoint and stop random vehicles to investigate for DUI violations.
In the editorial, the Times states “…we trust Oregon voters might just be fed up enough to reject amending the Constitution to clear the way for random DUII roadblocks…Our objections go to cost and effectiveness of the idea, its potential for abuse and the infringement on the rights of honest citizens to travel uninterrupted.”
Senator Rod Monroe introduced the DUII Bill on January 19, which is now working through the Oregon Legislative system and is slated to be on the next primary ballot.
Opponents to the Bill point to their constitutional rights granted by the Fourth Amendment and want to see the Beaver State remain among the ‘Constitutional Dozen’- states that do not host DUII checkpoints. On their side of the argument is the lack of evidence that roadblocks reduce DUII occurrences, and that the number of DUII arrests has remained stagnant despite similar initiatives. Refer to our Portland DUII resource page for information on DUII arrests in Portland.
In its own editorial against the Bill, the Oregonian rehashed an old resolution to the DUII roadblock debate. They advocate a solution similar to a 1989 bill that would de-criminalize DUIIs charged at roadblocks. Guilty drivers instead would face civil penalties, like forfeiture of driving privileges or a fine.
In their view, it would accomplish the same goal Senator Monroe’s Bill intends to realize: reduce the amount of drivers who risk a DUII and the safety of others on Oregon roads.
The issue comes down to weighing the rights of citizens to burdensome search and seizure versus the public’s right to rid Oregon roads of drunk drivers. We will keep our readers up to date with news about this developing bill, and other DUII legislation in Oregon.
Gilroy & Napoli are DUII Attorneys in Lake Oswego, Oregon. They do not claim support or disapproval of the proposed law, but only strive to educate the public of developing news related to DUII law in Oregon. If you are charged with a DUI in Oregon, contact Gilroy & Napoli for more information on defending your DUI.