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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In today’s world social media constantly changes the way things around us work. But are new apps affecting the way that local law enforcement does its job?

“A DWI checkpoint serves a multitude of facets in law enforcement,” New Hanover Co. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer said. “They’re a needed and useful tool that we do use. Not only are they there to check for drunken drivers, but for people who have warrants, or for people who may or may not be operating the car illegally.”

In today’s cat and mouse world of legal maneuvering a new advancement has been made by today’s social media world. Checkpoint apps now flood the Android and iPhone app stores. There are even text services which will tip you off, and not everyone is happy about it.

“I don’t know if I’m for it, because people, if they were to find out there is a roadblock and go around it and stuff, then they could cause accidents and stuff like that,” driver Allison Godwin said. “I have been through three or four in the last couple of months. I get nervous and start to shake a little bit. I feel like they’re going to something wrong or something.”

Police say that if DWI checkpoint apps like this one can keep even one driver from strapping in and starting their car that these apps are doing their job.

“We consider it a success if the texts are going out over Facebook or Instagram whatever social media somebody may use to alert somebody that there is a checkpoint setup,” said Chief Deputy Charlie Miller or the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. “That keeps a drunk driver from behind the wheel, and we don’t mind that.”

Local law enforcement says it will continue to do random roadblocks in our area. They say the best way to avoid them if you have been drinking is to take a cab or simply stay at home.

Comment on this Story

  • sammy flatt

    Please send check points

  • Relaid user

    That number belongs to Relaid. There is nothing illegal about how Bandwidth passes the number to Relaid, the service that tips its subscribers off about checkpoints. There is no FCC violation in this process. Relaid is not SPAM, it is a legitimate service that many people use and enjoy. If you have any complaints, call them and they will gladly assist you.

  • kay bilisoly

    Sign me up for notifications. New Hanover County and Wilmington only.

  • nick

    Need a number to text my phone when roadblocks are set up

  • ac

    Call 614-706-0527 and this line will send you text messages about any roadblocks that are going on in Brunswick or New Hanover County.

  • Guest87686

    Dialing that number will basically sign you up for text spam. Their provider – Bandwidth.com – illegally passes your calling phone number to them even if you block it before calling.

    FCC complaint will be filed by me regarding that as there are very limited conditions under which blocked numbers can be passed.

  • Martin Smith

    If law enforcement is using random roadblocks then they are breaking the law. This is an illegal search under the 4th amendment of the US Constitution. They must announce when they are going to put up roadblocks and where and for what hours.

  • If drivers are driving and not doing something they’re not supposed to be doing,why the fuss? Might save someone’s life.

  • jj

    Better go back to school. You most have slepted though this part of your law school. Here I will help you out a little http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_Dept._of_State_Police_v._Sitz

    You can thank me for your doing you research later.

  • Michael Byers

    Unfortunately, it will take far more than social media or technology to keep the habitual drunk from getting behind the wheel. Often times, it is only the deadly crash that can accomplish this by confinement. The victim usually will be in the other vehicle!

  • Jerry B.

    Normaly I do not drink. At the most I would drink one.beer with a meal. I have no fear of ever being charged with DUI or DWI. As a parent of three children and three grandchildren, I am definitely in favor of what emeasures are neccessary to protect my family and friends from drunken drivers. As a retired law enforcement officer supervisor, I have qestions as to legality of the police stopping citizens without probae. I suppose the agreement you sign for your priviledgng a drivers license is the states. While I support the actions law enforcement takes, I still have a question about being detained, without the option of turning around, without being pursue by law enforcment, and again being stopped by police. I am definitely not an attorney, but I would enjoy sitting in on the first time it is challenged! Any lawyers out there to explain why they agree or disagree with me???

  • FedLEO

    and while it was indeed determined to be a seizure under the Fourth Amendment, it was still considered to be minimally invasive especially when weighed against the overall risk to public safety that drunk drivers pose. The SCOTUS passed this judgment in 1990 and left it to the individual states to make a determination as to their usage. However, the court also imposed a set of guidelines that have to be adhered to: number one primarily being that roadblocks/checkpoints must be publicly announced in advance. Yet it never fails that checkpoints always net numerous arrests and citations issued.

  • Guest2020

    I cannot remember but one checkpoint I have ever encountered in the twenty-five years I have been driving. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened more often, but I don’t remember. I don’t sweat it. I have been pulled for speeding three times, ticketed two of those times and speeding doesn’t have anything to do with the checkpoints unless you speed through them. Now expired registration and inspection are different stories. I have been pulled three times and ticketed twice. What can I say? I am the world’s worst procrastinator. But, I got it taken care of this year, before I got pulled.

  • ChefnSurf

    Sgt. Jerry Brewer said “Not only are they there to check for drunken drivers, but for people who have warrants, or for people who may or may not be operating the car illegally.”

    Like most people, I’m all for getting drunks off the road. Don’t want either myself or those I care about to be injured or killed. Having said that, I still find myself less than totally comfortable with random checkpoints so I decided to de-construct Sgt. Brewer’s statement into its three individual parts.

    (1) Random stop to check for intoxication: Basically OK with that because of its immediate lifesaving value.
    (2) Random stop to check for illegal operation: Not very comfortable with that. Drivers should operate legally, but a random stop?
    (3) Random stop to check for warrants: Totally and completely uncomfortable with that! That’s the equivalent of a random stop to check for “whatever”! That’s police-state stuff!

    I then asked myself if I would be comfortable if any of the above stops were used independently of the others, especially the second and third ones. The example I gave myself was a random stop just to check for warrants. All sorts of bells and alarms starting going off in my head!

    If it’s not OK to have a random stop exclusively to check for either of the second or third reasons, why is it OK to include those criteria during a DUI check? Personally, I don’t feel it is. To me, this is a slippery slope and we’ve already begun to slide. What’s next; on-sight DNA swabs?

    Individual rights are a valuable part of our American culture. Our government has become more invasive and intrusive in our personal lives while at the very same time it has has been insulating itself from being held, in any meaningful way, accountable by its citizens. That is not a good trend. Personal freedom doesn’t just go away in one fell swoop, except perhaps in a dictatorial coup. It happens inch by inch in a way we hardly even notice. I just think it would be in our best interests to be a little more careful about what we’re willing to give up.

  • Guest704

    Simple. If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about. If you obey the laws that have been created by our politicians & lawmakers, you will get through the checkpoints just fine.
    I’ll gladly sacrafice a few minutes of my life at a checkpoint, if it gets any offenders off our streets. There’s too much liability out there. …people with suspended licenses, cars with no insurance that drive up our insurance rates, drunks, people with drugs, guns, & warrants, etc…
    Anything to make this place a little safer.

  • Heimie Schmelter

    …but if in the commission of these DUI checkpoints, an officer discovers:
    -an outstanding warrant for a violent crime.
    -a fugitive wanted for a violent crime.
    -an abducted child or woman.
    -visual evidence of drugs and or drug use.
    -felon in possession of a firearm.
    -an unsafe vehicle with bald tires and very young children in the back seat.
    -children improperly restrained in car seats.
    -lack of seat belt use.

    What do YOU think he should do? Turn a blind eye towards it and wave him through? All of the above points are but just a few and all are clearly illegal. I understand and agree with your concern about our personal freedoms, but personal freedoms have never been used as or intended to be used as excuses to perform illegal activities, major or minor in nature and believe that the secondary or tertiary discovery of illegal behavior or conditions due to a DUI checkpoint is not unreasonable. Many violent criminals and purveyors of poison have been apprehended going through DUI checkpoints. The initial arrest of Ted Bundy was because of a routine traffic stop of his now-famous yellow Volkswagon Beetle where the officer noted a missing passenger seat, ski masks, handcuffs, coils rope and panty hose.

    I don’t drink and drive. I don’t do drugs. I maintain insurance and maintain my vehicle. I’m not a murderer, rapist, pedophile, drug dealer or a thief. I have no criminal record at all and have never been arrested. I think these are the main reasons I’ve never had a single issue with all of the checkpoints I’ve gone through in my years of driving in any state.

  • Wilmington Observer

    Sgt Brewer stated they are checking for, “……….. People who may or MAY NOT BE OPERATING THE CAR ILLEGALLY.

    Wilmington Observer

  • Heimie Schmelter

    A person operating a vehicle on public roadways without a valid license is “operating the vehicle illegally”.

    A person operating a vehicle on public roadways under the influence of alcohol and or drugs is “operating the vehicle illegally”.

    A person operating a vehicle on public roadways without a valid registration is “operating the vehicle illegally”.

    Follow me now…

    A person operating a vehicle on public roadways without liability insurance is “operating the vehicle illegally”.


    A person operating a vehicle on public roadways with unsafe equipment is (take a guess!) “operating the vehicle illegally”.

    There are many, many more…

    That clear it up for ya?

  • Guest Timekeeper

    Sadly, many use your battlecry. It is the principle that police have the power to stop and check drivers at their discretion. I know drunks and druggies need to be removed from the roads, but punishing everyone is not the answer.

  • ChefnSurf

    I’m not a lawbreaker but I’m still not comfortable relinquishing all of my inalienable rights to governmental authority.

    “If you obey the laws created by our politicians and lawmakers” … Did you know it’s illegal to unlock you own smartphone or to have sex between two double beds in a hotel room? Written by “lawmakers” so that must be OK, right?

    “Anything to make this place a little safer” … Permanent checkpoint gates in each neighborhood? Random stops anywhere for any reason? That’ll make us even safer, right? That’s the problem with saying “anything”.

    You don’t have to be paranoid in order to see that not everything government does is always the best thing for its citizens.

    Apparently, you seem to feel that everything will just keep bumping along just fine. History has proven time and time again that that’s not really the case.

  • Guest45

    with your thinking you are obviously one of the sheeples of our country and really don’t understand the sacrifices our fore fathers made to allow you to be raised in what was once a free country ruled by the constitution.

  • wayner

    With your thinking then it would be perfectly legal for the police to enter your home and search it periodically. As a veteran I resent your premise that people should give up constitutional rights to local law enforcement.

  • cliff brown

    All DuI checkpoints are Illegal and violate the 4th ammendment ,It is illegal to stop anyone anywhere and ask them questions or search their vehicle and person ,I personaly dont see how they can break the law they are sworn to uphold under oath.Most police Officers dont even know what the 4th ammendment is

  • David Lineberry

    In the state of Virginia, I know before police can have a legal road check, they must acquire a permit for the location of the check. If they do not possess the permit, it is a illegal search and seizure.


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