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71 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 1095 (1993-1994)
Michigan Constitutional Law--A Sobriety Checkpoint Program That Seizes Automobiles on a Public Highway in the State of Michigan without Suspicion Violates Article 1, Section 11 of the Michigan Constitution

handle is hein.journals/udetmr71 and id is 1105 raw text is: MICHIGAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-A SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT
11 OF THE MICHIGAN CONSTITUTION. Sitz v. Department of State Police,
506 N.W.2d 209 (Mich. 1993).
In an effort to combat alcohol-related traffic accidents, the Michi-
gan Department of State Police operated the State's first sobriety
checkpoint in Saginaw County on May 17 and 18, 1986.1 Authoriza-
tion for the sobriety checkpoint, which involved the systematic stop-
ping and examining of every vehicle through the checkpoint for signs
of driver intoxication, came directly from Governor James Blanchard
in his State of the State Address on January 29, 1986.2 Following the
Governor's direction, the Michigan Department of State Police direc-
tor appointed a Sobriety Checkpoint Advisory Committee to draft
guidelines for the program.3
The program included implementing sobriety checkpoints at var-
ious locations on Michigan highways.4 All cars going through the
checkpoint would be pulled over and the drivers would be observed
by police for indications of alcohol consumption.5 The Saginaw
County checkpoint was the first and only checkpoint operation in the
1. Sitz v. Department of State Police, 506 N.W.2d 209, 211 (Mich. 1993).
2. Id. at 211. Prior to Governor Blanchard's endorsement of the sobriety check-
point program, the Michigan Drunk Driving Task Force in the Department of State
Police, as established by 1982 PA 310, had reviewed all aspects of the drunk driving
problem in the state. Id. at 210-11. In September, 1985, the Task Force submitted
its final report which set forth thirty-five recommendations for combatting alcohol-
related traffic accidents, one of which was the implementation of sobriety check-
points. I. at 211. The Michigan State Police did not begin the sobriety checkpoint
program at that time because of opposition in the legislature. I. at 210-11.
3. Id. at 211. The committee was:
Composed of representatives of the State Police, local law enforcement offi-
cials, prosecuting attorneys and the University of Michigan Transportation
Research Institute. The committee drafted guidelines for the program. The
guidelines set forth procedures as to site selection, publicity, and operation
of the checkpoint, including briefing, scheduling, safety considerations, mo-
torist contact, staffing, and assignment of duties.
4. Id.
5. Id. The court described the process as follows:
Should the examining officer find indications of intoxications, the officer
would direct the driver to an out-of-traffic location, check the driver's license
and car registration, and possibly conduct further sobriety tests, including a
Breathalyzer test. If the officer concluded that the driver was intoxicated,
the officer would have the discretion to arrest the driver; should the officer
conclude the driver was not intoxicated, the driver was to be released.

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