A DUI checkpoint is a temporary roadblock where police officers will stop random vehicles to check for driver intoxication. The criteria for pulling over a driver is predetermined and not based on the officers’ subjective determinations. Hundreds of checkpoints are conducted throughout the year, leading to numerous arrests. While some believe such stops are unconstitutional, courts have upheld their use by stating that they are conducted with the public’s interest in mind, as they are designed to prevent drunk driving and increase road safety.
Because DUI checkpoints are legal in Pennsylvania, and police departments may set up several throughout the state, it is important to know what to do if you are pulled over.
Answering the Officer’s Questions
If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, the officer will be looking for various signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and/or the scent of alcohol on you. The officer will also ask you a few questions to determine if you must submit to further testing.
During the stop, you do not need to give the officer anything more than your name, license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. If the officer asks you for anything further, you can politely decline their request. Doing so does not mean the officer cannot arrest you if they suspect you are intoxicated. However, if the stop does lead to an arrest, not answering questions could prevent you from providing incriminating information that could be used against you if your case is taken to court.
Submitting to Field Sobriety and Breath Tests
If, after speaking with you, the officer determines you must submit to further testing, they can request that you take a field sobriety or breathalyzer test. Technically, you can refuse either of these, but because Pennsylvania operates under implied consent laws, a refusal could result in further charges and penalties, including license suspension for up to 1 year (which is still assessed even if you are later found not guilty of a DUI).
Contact the Law Offices of William D. Thompson for a Case Evaluation
Pennsylvania’s new DUI law increases charges and penalties for repeat offenders, making it is more imperative than ever to have an attorney on your side to fight charges. If you were accused of driving under the influence, contact the Law Offices of William D. Thompson. We have 15 years of experience defending individuals in these types of cases, and we know how to build effective legal strategies. Our lawyer will work closely with you to understand the specifics of your stop and gather evidence to challenge the prosecution’s case.