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Is the Mr. Checkpoint smartphone application a good thing?

Posted by Steven H. Fagan | Jan 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Screenshot of the Mr. Checkpoint smartphone app

The Christmas and New Year holidays have become associated with law enforcement efforts to locate and apprehend holiday celebrants who may have had too much to drink and have climbed before the wheel of their car to drive, usually to their home. There are other holidays on the horizon such as Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Thanksgiving later in the year. These are prime targets for Illinois DUI enforcement efforts.

For better or for worse, younger persons are utilizing social media to provide alerts regarding the locations of law enforcement checkpoints that are being utilized to look for persons driving under the influence (DUI). The attorneys at Fagan, Fagan & Davis focus on Illinois legal defense including driving under the influence (DUI) at courthouses in Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County.

Screenshot of the Mr. Checkpoint Twitter page

A social media application that can be downloaded for free to you smartphone can be found at Some people have suggested that the MrCheckpoint application actually helps deter drunk driving and promote public safety by providing publicly and official checkpoint information, safety messages, and a help directory. There are reports that MrCheckpoint has been publicly supported by anti-DUI non-profit organizations, as well as several law enforcement agencies.

At the same time, some individuals and groups have suggested that it is counterintuitive for the Mr. Checkpoint application to provide DUI checkpoint updates as a means of prevention. In response, it has been suggested that prevention is a goal of DUI checkpoints as the checkpoints actually educate the public and as a result the checkpoints are a deterrent.

Screenshot of the Mr. Checkpoint Facebook page

Other have suggested that DUI saturation patrols by law enforcement officers are far more effective in apprehending drunk drivers and getting them off our roads. Since saturation DUI patrols are covert by nature drunk drivers cannot avoid them, even when announced in advance. On the other hand, checkpoints are anything but covert as they are publicized in advance by the law enforcement agencies involved and usually are held on very busy streets. The checkpoints are staged with lots of lights and the act of setting them up provides an alert to most of the local community.

A federal agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compared DUI checkpoints with DUI saturation patrols. “The goal of these interventions is to deter alcohol-impaired driving by increasing drivers' perceived risk of arrest.” So it would seem to be the goal of a DUI checkpoint to raise the conversation about drunk driving and encourage seeking alternatives.

Thus, a service such as the one provided by the Mr. Checkpoint application can enhance the perception of DUI checkpoints by encouraging discussion and conversation. The smartphone application was developed by Sennett Devermont, a native of San Diego. He claims that the impact of the application can be found in the attitude of the audience the application has attracted. The audience is believed to be a young, connected group who have device-driven lives, thus the gathering and sharing information such as the information collected and shared by Mr. Checkpoint is just human nature. It appears that many people who find out about the Mr. Checkpoint application when a friend forwards an alert to them.

Arguments can be made that some people will try to use the information provided by the application to plan their routes and to avoid the possibility of DUI. However, these individuals are sharing their experiences, while encouraging their friends through social media to do the right thing and not get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, thus drunk driving is being prevented.

The attorneys at Fagan, Fagan & Davis have defended countless clients against DUI charges throughout the Chicago area courts, including those located in Cook County, DuPage County and Lake County. The attorneys at Fagan, Fagan & Davis understand which defense strategies are the most effective in court and how to challenge evidence gathered by law enforcement and offered by the prosecution. Contact us now for a free consultation.

About the Author

Steven H. Fagan

Steve Fagan earned his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, is a member of the NCDD, NACDL, ISBA, IACDL and a founding member of the DUIDLA. He is published and has taught CLE for lawyers on subjects such as sex offenses, DUI and criminal defense, and focuses on Criminal and DUI trial defense.


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