Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?
July 18, 2023
Drivers can expect to encounter more DUI checkpoints at certain times of the year, including the winter holidays and summer weekends. They are legal in every state, but sometimes law enforcement officers do not follow the proper procedures. This means that arrested people may be able to challenge the charges.
What Is a DUI Checkpoint?
A DUI checkpoint gets set up at a prearranged, temporary location to catch intoxicated drivers without needing to pull them over for probable cause. Roadblocks are set up to slow down traffic and interview drivers.
If an officer feels that a driver might be driving under the influence, they will ask them to pull over and exit their vehicle for field sobriety testing. A driver may also be given a blood-alcohol test. Drivers who fail the blood-alcohol test are placed under arrest and then charged with DUI. They are treated the same way as drivers pulled over during normal conditions.
What Are Pennsylvania’s DUI Checkpoint Guidelines?
Pennsylvania’s DUI checkpoint guidelines include the following:
- The choice to set up a DUI checkpoint and its parameters must be made by a police department’s administrators. It should be in a fixed location and cannot be moved randomly.
- The decision has to be based on historical data about previous DUI incidents.
- The DUI checkpoint’s location must be announced publicly before the setup.
- Law enforcement officers can only stop vehicles briefly at the checkpoint.
- Police administrators must create the criteria for stopping vehicles; officers should not choose ones to pull over.
- Vehicles and occupants cannot be searched at checkpoints.
- When vehicles proceed into a checkpoint, they might be directed to keep going or be asked to pull over. This is done randomly. Those drivers will be asked general questions, and if the officer suspects DUI, a driver will be sent to a second area for testing.
How Can I Fight a DUI Charge?
Drivers are legally allowed to avoid roadblocks. Therefore, police officers cannot stop vehicles unless they feel that the driver is intentionally avoiding the area and an officer has reasonable suspicion that the driver is breaking the law. Still, if there is evidence that you were stopped illegally, you may be able to challenge a DUI charge.
Another defense might center on an inaccurate breath test or issues with the field sobriety test. Other ways of challenging the charges include not following checkpoint guidelines, not having the opportunity to contact a lawyer during the DUI investigation, and having no proof that you were driving when the vehicle was pulled over.
A West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Can Help You Fight a DUI Charge
The first step toward challenging a DUI charge is to contact an experienced West Chester criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes. To learn more, call 610-431-7900 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.