Memorial Day is approaching and law enforcement officials throughout Pennsylvania, including Erie County, know that many people will celebrate the long holiday weekend with alcohol. Unfortunately, some individuals will operate a motor vehicle after having too much to drink during the Memorial Day weekend. Therefore, some law enforcement agencies may set up a DUI checkpoint over the Memorial Day holiday to catch drunk drivers in Pennsylvania.
What are the Rules for a DUI Checkpoint in Erie County?
In Erie County and throughout Pennsylvania, law enforcement agencies are required to follow strict rules if they decide to set up DUI checkpoints.
How does a DUI checkpoint work?
In most cases, police officers block off a section of road to set up a mandatory checkpoint. The officers stop each vehicle as it approaches the checkpoint to look for signs that the driver is under the influence of alcohol. The officer asks for the individual’s driver’s license and proof of insurance while looking for bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination, slurred speech, difficulty following directions, and other signs of intoxication.
If the officer observes signs that indicate the driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer requires the driver to exit the vehicle. The police officer may request the driver perform the standard field sobriety tests or submit to a portable breathalyzer. The driver can refuse the tests. A driver may be arrested for refusing to submit to field sobriety tests, but in most cases, if the officer has probable cause to arrest the person for drunk driving, the officer intends to make the arrest regardless of whether the driver submits to fields sobriety tests.
DUI checkpoints typically proceed like normal traffic stops, except officers stop each vehicle and watch closely for signs of drunk driving. Additionally, if a vehicle turns around after seeing the checkpoint, a police officer may follow the vehicle and stop the vehicle to determine if there is an illegal reason why the driver did not want to go through the DUI checkpoint.
What are the rules for a DUI checkpoint in Pennsylvania?
Law enforcement agencies must follow strict rules when using DUI checkpoints. Some of the rules that are required for DUI checkpoints in Pennsylvania:
- Notice of the date, time, and location of the roadblock must be provided to the public.
- Consistent methods for stopping vehicles must be used, such as stopping each vehicle or stopping every other vehicle.
- Police officers in the field cannot approve a decision to conduct a roadblock. Roadblocks must be pre-approved by administrators.
- There must be sufficient officers at the location to conduct the checkpoint.
- The checkpoint cannot be moved from the location that was approved.
- The location of the DUI checkpoint must be held during a time of the day when drunk driving is likely and in a location where drunk driving is frequent.
Illegal DUI checkpoints could result in a DUI charge being dismissed. An Erie DUI attorney can request information to determine if law enforcement officers violated any laws related to the checkpoint or the DUI arrest. Because you could face serious consequences and penalties for a DUI arrest, you should consult with an Erie drunk driving attorney as soon as possible.
Contact an Erie DUI Attorney for Help
Being arrested for DUI does not mean you are going to jail. Prosecutors must prove you violated the law. You may have one or more DUI defenses available to fight the charges.
Contact The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to request a free legal consultation with our Erie County DUI attorney.