Summary of Facts: Our client (a physician) was stopped on his way home from a holiday party. His daughter and a friend were in the car with him when they came upon a sobriety checkpoint (a.k.a. DUI roadblock). Our client rolled down his window and had some conversation with the initial trooper (the “screener”). Based on an alleged odor of alcohol our client was directed to drive his car into the evaluation area (the “pit”). In the pit our client was ordered out of his car and made to take field sobriety tests. After supposedly failing the tests he was arrested and then administered a breathalyzer test. The result was a blood alcohol level of 0.13 (1.5 times the legal limit of 0.08).
Action: Attorney Coughlin filed a motion to suppress challenging the constitutionality of the sobriety checkpoint. Having identified deviations from the plan, Attorney Coughlin successfully argued to the judge that the stop of our client was unconstitutional and all evidence should be suppressed.
Result: The judge allowed our motion and suppressed all evidence in the case. As a result it was impossible for the Commonwealth to continue prosecution of the case and the matter was subsequently dismissed. This result spared our client an additional license loss (he had already lost his license for 30 days for failing the breathalyzer test) and potential consequences at work (physicians and doctors are can be subject to intense professional scrutiny for convictions involving drugs or alcohol).