Often, I will publish on my Facebook Page the Tennessee Highway Patrol‘s published list of checkpoints for the coming month.  Responding to my posting of June’s list, another local attorney sent me this inquiry: “Can individual departments and sheriff’s offices conduct their own checkpoints, which would not be identified in this [THP] list?”

Answer: individual departments and offices can indeed host their own checkpoints if done so in the proper manner and, in the case of State v. Hicks, 55 S.W.3d 515, 534 (Tenn. 2001), the Tennessee Supreme Court held that failure to even publish notice of an upcoming roadblock will not invariably render such a roadblock as invalid/unconstitutional (indeed, State v. Hicks is a good case all-around to read if one wants to brush up on checkpoint law).

Long story short, presume checkpoints can happen anytime, anywhere. It’s the defense attorney’s job to help sort out after-the-fact whether any given checkpoint was a constitutional one or not.


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