With the arrival of summer and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the emergence of DUI checkpoints will be more prevalent than in the previous months. These checkpoints will be designed to determine whether an individual is operating a vehicle while impaired. For many, these checkpoints could land them with a DUI charge. While these checkpoints have been commonplace for many years in Pennsylvania, there are certain procedures that must be put in place by the law enforcement agency that is carrying them out.
A DUI Checkpoint is a stationary roadblock that is marked with signs and other indicators to drivers. DUI Checkpoints are generally positioned in locations that are known to be hotspots for drunk driving. At a DUI Checkpoint, the officer(s) are permitted to make a short stop of each car to determine whether the individual operating the vehicle is impaired. These stops can include questions about where the driver is coming from or going, if the driver had any alcohol before driving, or whether the driver is under the influence of any substance(s).
In Pennsylvania, the five requirements that must be met for any DUI Checkpoint are:
There must be sufficient notice of the checkpoint;
The location of the checkpoint must be based on information as to where drivers are to be driving;
The stop has to be brief and cannot include a search of the driver’s person;
The decision to conduct a checkpoint must have prior administrative approval; and
The process as to how individuals are stopped and investigated must be done by administratively pre-fixed, objective, and random standards, and must not be left to the discretion of the police on the scene.
If the officer suspects impairment, he/she will order the driver to step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. After performing the tests, the officer will then make a determination as to whether to place the individual under arrest. The officer will also ask the driver to submit to a blood draw and/or a portable breath test. If the individual refuses the blood draw or portable breath test, there will be an automatic suspension of one’s license. If the individual agrees to the breath test, the officer – if he has a portable breath test on his person – will have the individual blow into the device. If they agree to a blood draw, the officer will take the individual to the hospital for a blood draw.
At The Town Law, we understand just how stressful facing criminal charges can be. With our vast experience handling criminal cases throughout Bucks County, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, we are well-equipped to ensure you get the best result possible with attentive attorneys by your side throughout the process. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. Our staff of experienced attorneys is dedicated to the best outcomes for all of our clients.