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Are Border Patrol Checkpoints Constitutional? Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney Marc J. Victor

October 6, 2019


let’s talk checkpoints in criminal cases
this is an evolving area of criminal law and it’s an area I deal with a lot
here’s what our Supreme Court has said about them the first thing you need to
know general criminal control checkpoints checkpoints just to sort of
be a dragnet for criminal activity those are unconstitutional so if the
checkpoint that you’re dealing with is a general crime control checkpoint it’s
probably unconstitutional on the other hand and unfortunately our Supreme Court
has found that DUI specific checkpoints are can be constitutional under certain
circumstances also checkpoints at an international border are going to be
constitutional under most under most circumstances checkpoints that are
internal that we deal with a lot also can be constitutional if they’re for
immigration purposes but it gets a little tricky because anything that an
officer learns at an immigration checkpoint either because you opened
your mouth and told them about it or they got something from plain view or
plain smell and so if an officer is there asking you about citizenship and
they see something inside your vehicle they can take action if they smell
something they can take action keep in mind most of these checkpoints are going
to be federally driven checkpoints and so if you’ve got a medical marijuana
card they do not have to honor that and so it can be a tricky area you’ve got to
make an initial determination when you enter one of these checkpoints do I want
to be an activist or do I want to just get through the checkpoint without any
aggravation those are different roads because as an activist you really don’t
have to answer any questions at all you don’t necessarily have to roll down your
window there are lots of things you can do as an activist at a checkpoint but be
prepared to be detained if you want to get through the checkpoint you might
just say yes I’m a United States citizen no I don’t have any drugs or any
contraband in my car and move on down the road
if there’s a dog out there that opens up a whole Pandora’s box there are lots of
cases some of which just came down dealing with dogs the handler the
training what a dog can do how we can challenge the dog in court and it can be
a very very tricky area of law so if you’re dealing with a checkpoint make
that initial determination about whether you want to be an activist whether you
just want to get through that checkpoint and here’s a good idea have a criminal
defense attorney standing by just in case

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