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Fargo sobriety checks Friday

The Fargo Police Department and the North Dakota Highway Patrol will conduct a sobriety checkpoint Friday, somewhere within the city limits of Fargo.

The Fargo Police Department and the North Dakota Highway Patrol will conduct a sobriety checkpoint Friday, somewhere within the city limits of Fargo.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol has been doing such checks on highways for five years, but this marks a first for Fargo police, said Lt. Paul Laney, who is organizing the efforts.

Friday's checkpoint will be the first in the state to be conducted within a city.

Although the public will be told when the checkpoints are coming, they won't know where they'll be set up.

"Our goal is deterrence. That's the total goal of the checkpoint," Laney said.

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The checks are not intrusive and take from 6 to 25 seconds, Laney said.

"(People) have this idea that they're stopped, they have to get out of their cars. That is completely wrong," Laney said. "If there's no signs of impairment, they're on their way."

Drivers who smell of alcohol or appear intoxicated will be asked to pull over to a designated area for further tests and could face arrest. Those who are sober and wearing a seat belt will be rewarded with a gift certificate for a free McDonald's sandwich.

"We'd be happy if we have zero arrests," Laney said.

Drivers will be given a survey to fill out and an informational brochure about driving under the influence.

Police can't legally ask for a person's license or registration and can't search inside the vehicle during the checkpoint stop.

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