In this digital age, it seems that a social media site exists for nearly everything. This is even true with regard to law enforcement sobriety checkpoints. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have pages notifying users of the location of police checkpoints. While New Orleans law enforcement has criticized the practice in the past, other police departments have taken a more favorable view, seeing the sites as helping to place an even brighter spotlight on law enforcement’s aggressive effort to detect and arrest impaired drivers.
When the State of Louisiana issued its Highway Safety Plan for Fiscal Year 2014, it made some strong conclusions regarding drinking and driving. “Driving after drinking is taken too lightly in Louisiana. A cultural shift toward understanding the realities and consequences of drinking and driving must take place.” The plan also called for numerous sobriety checkpoints around the state.
According to WGMB TV, however, savvy Facebook users are using the social media site as a tool for escaping these sobriety checkpoints. A Facebook page now exists entitled “Baton Rouge DWI Checkpoints.” Baton Rouge Police Lt. Cory Reech told WGMB that the checkpoint-related social media sites were highly successful. “The Facebook page or the Twitter or any kind of social media explodes within a few minutes of us setting up a checkpoint.”
Perhaps surprisingly, Reech saw the social media sites as potential positives. By placing checkpoint-awareness sites on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, users see the increased emphasis law enforcement has placed on policing the issue of impaired driving. “If that [site] gives our location and it warns people, ‘Hey, the police are out there. They are arresting drunk drivers,’ Then that’s what we’re looking to do,” according to Reech.
In fact, police have pointed to a lack of arrests associated with some checkpoints as evidence that the enhanced enforcement efforts are working. Police often set their checkpoints in areas notorious for frequent instances of drunk driving. On some occasions, Reech stated that checkpoints have produced no arrests and officers have encountered “designated driver after designated driver.” When that happens, police consider it “success, no question whatsoever,” Reech said.
Similar social media sites exist for areas outside just Baton Rouge. A Facebook site named “DWI checkpoint @ (Louisiana)” contains posts from users about checkpoints throughout the state.
In the past, New Orleans law enforcement has taken a different view of such social media sites than the one held by the Baton Rouge Police. NOPD Supt. Ronal Serpas told WDSU TV in 2011 that the sites impaired public safety. “Anyone who would be so irresponsible as to try to help drunk drivers avoid DWI checkpoints is not only encouraging reckless driving, but is also putting those drivers, their passengers and the general public at risk,” Serpas stated.
Of course, the surest way to avoid facing a DWI charge is to avoid drinking and driving. If you decide to drink, rely on a designated driver or call a cab. However, if you do face a DWI charge, you should seek legal assistance promptly. Contact the Louisiana DWI/DUI attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. We have the familiarity with the system and knowledge of the law needed to help you navigate the legal system and achieve the best possible result for you.
For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
Baton Rouge’s DWI Checkpoints Violated State Law, District Court Rules, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, March 13, 2014
Ignition Interlock Devices and Louisiana DWI/DUI Law, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 21, 2014