Police utilize DUI checkpoints, also called sobriety checkpoints, as a way of identifying those driving under the influence. While these checkpoints are legal in Pennsylvania, police must follow certain rules in conducting them.
Knowing how checkpoints work gives you a better idea of your rights and helps you avoid confusion should you encounter one.
How does a sobriety checkpoint work
Checkpoints in Pennslyvania are not random and police must schedule them in advance through the chain of command. Officers must have the proper training to run such checkpoints and should act professionally. Stops must be short and minimally invasive provided there is no reason to believe the person stopped is under the influence. Generally, the officer will briefly inquire whether the driver has been drinking and send them on their way.
If a person shows signs of being under the influence, police can legally conduct sobriety tests, such as a breath test. If police find the person stopped has consumed over the legal amount of alcohol, they may arrest them at the checkpoint.
When is a checkpoint unlawful?
If the police do not follow the proper process when conducting the DUI checkpoint, it may be unlawful. Keep in mind that the stops must be in a predetermined place following planned guidelines and the police can not search a vehicle without probable cause.
Situations involving DUI checkpoints can seem complicated. However, if authorities arrested you for a DUI at a checkpoint, it might be worth examining whether the stop was legal in the first place.