What you need to know about PA DUI Checkpoints

PA DUI Checkpoint

So there’s a DUI Checkpoint up ahead, now what?

New Year’s Eve is one of the most celebrated nights of the year. Many of you will be attending special dinners, parties or gatherings to watch the ball drop in Times Square. Should you decide to nip on some Moscow Mules, Hot Toddies, or bring in the New Year with a Champagne toast, please be smart when traveling home.

In Pennsylvania, there are serious consequences to drunk driving or “buzzed driving”. With Uber and Lyft these days, there is no reason to risk your life or someone else’s, your reputation or your future.

I can guarantee you that the police will be keeping their eyes peeled from now until New Year’s Day for impaired drivers. They will be patrolling the roads for the slightest probable cause to pull you over. I can also guarantee that there will be DUI checkpoints all across Pennsylvania.

The ultimate way to avoid a Pennsylvania DUI is to simply not drink and drive. However, if you find yourself stopped at a DUI checkpoint, definitely know your rights. If the police do not conduct the checkpoint properly, you may be able to successfully fight the charges in court.

So what should you do if you come upon a DUI checkpoint?

Turn around. In Pennsylvania, it’s completely legal to make a U-turn or take another route to avoid the DUI checkpoint. The officers cannot stop you based on sheer suspicion that you are trying to avoid the stop. However, you must obey all other traffic laws when trying to avoid the checkpoint.

Am I free to go at dui checkpoint

What if it’s not possible to avoid being stopped at a DUI Checkpoint?

1. Open your window slightly so you can speak to the officer. If he asks, give him your license, registration and proof of insurance through the window.

2. Remain calm and polite the entire time.

3. You may decline to answer any questions asked by the officer.

If he asks you if you’ve been drinking or where you’re coming from, you can politely say,
Sorry, I’m not going to discuss my day.

If the officer insists on asking you questions, simply repeat,
Sorry, I’m not going to discuss my day.

If he or she continues, politely ask
Am I being detained or am I free to go?

4. If the officer asks you take a preliminary breath test at the scene, you have the right to refuse.

5. You also have the right to refuse a field sobriety test.

6. You should never agree to a search of your vehicle or personal belongings.

If the police ask for permission to conduct a search, you should always ask,
Am I being detained or am I free to go?

Unless there is an articulable suspicion that a crime is being committed, the police cannot detain you and must allow you to go on your way.

If you are detained, the officer will most likely take you to get your blood tested.

IN PENNSYLVANIA, DRIVERS WHO REFUSE TO SUBMIT TO A CHEMICAL TEST OF THEIR BLOOD OR BREATH AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN ARRESTED WILL BE SUBJECT TO A ONE-YEAR LICENSE SUSPENSION, WHETHER THEY ARE GUILTY OF A CRIME OR NOT.

Furthermore, drivers who refuse to take the test and who are subsequently convicted of DUI will be sentenced as if their BAC was in the highest range of intoxication.

The best DUI defense is to avoid arrest altogether. Call an Uber or Lyft.

None of these guarantee that you won’t be arrested and charged with a DUI. However, it will make it easier for me to challenge the charges in court when there is limited evidence against you.

If you have been charged with a crime after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you should give me a call at 412-896-3156 or email me at bkpetrick@petricklaw.com.

Your case could be dismissed if the police failed to follow the proper checkpoint protocols or if they failed to observe your Constitutional rights.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER

This blog post and the content of this entire website are not legal advice.

PetrickLaw Group provides the content of its web pages for informational purposes only.  It is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice in any specific case.  The firm does not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with visitors to its website, and visitors to the website or users of the web inquiry form should not assume such a relationship or rely on any material from the website without individualized advice from their own legal counsel.