Pennsylvania is one of a number of states which have DUI checkpoints. Here’s what happens if you’re stopped.
For the most part, the police must have probable cause to stop you if they suspect you of drink driving. However, there is an exception to the rule in the form of DUI checkpoints. Not every state has them, but Pennsylvania is one of the ones that does. They’ve decided that the goal of cutting down on alcohol related deaths justifies the brief intrusion of a stop.
DUI checkpoints, the rules
It’s a common myth among people who choose to drive while drinking that they will not be stopped because they will never give the police reason to pull them over. To be pulled over, the police need a reason, and many people believe they are uniquely capable of driving safely when they are over the limit.
Of course, the courts are full of people who found out the hard way this is not the case. In any event, this cunning plan will be foiled by DUI checkpoints where you can be pulled over even if your driving is perfect.
Here police will decide on a pattern of stops, such as checking every one in four drivers. They will perform all the usual roadside tests including physical observation and breathalyzers. If they have reason to believe you are driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance, they will arrest you and take you to a hospital where blood tests will be performed to verify the reading.
If you are found with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08%, you may be facing probation or a prison sentence plus a suspension of your driving license and a hefty fine. The severity of any sentence will also increase with the amount of alcohol in your blood.
Defending a DUI charge
The use of DUI checkpoints removes a key defence against a DUI charge, namely that the police did not have probable cause to stop you. Even so, a lawyer can help you to fight the case. Even if the reading proves you were under the influence, he or she will help you navigate a complex legal system, understand your rights and chart the best course of action going forward.
They may be able to reduce your sentence or inform you about alternative options such as an accelerated rehabilitative disposition scheme (ARD). This is open to many first-time offenders and offers a chance to avoid prison and to have the charge expunged from your record.
So, if you have been charged with DUI, it’s worth getting in touch for an informal chat. We can help you understand your rights and decide on the best strategy. At every step of the way, we work with your best interests in mind, whether that’s dismissing the case outright or reducing the length of a sentence.