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Does Pennsylvania have DUI checkpoints?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2022 | Drunk Driving Charges

Even though the summer is quickly drawing to a close, 2022 still has a few drinking holidays left. If you are planning to imbibe on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve, you should arrange for a sober ride home. After all, law enforcement agencies around the Keystone State tend to step up their DUI enforcement efforts around these holidays.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were nearly 45,000 DUI arrests in the commonwealth in 2021, with many happening at DUI checkpoints. At these checkpoints, officers stop a random sample of vehicles to determine whether their drivers may have blood alcohol concentrations above Pennsylvania’s 0.08% legal limit.

DUI checkpoints are usually legal

Even though DUI checkpoints are not legal in every state, courts in the commonwealth have found them to be legally valid. Still, officers must follow strict rules when designing them. In Pennsylvania, legal checkpoints must fit within the following parameters:

  • Officers must only stop motorists briefly
  • Officers must warn drivers
  • A supervising officer must determine the time, location and duration

Naturally, to comply with both federal and state law, DUI checkpoints also must be non-discriminatory in both design and execution.

You have rights

You do not lose your Constitutional rights when you drive into a DUI checkpoint, of course. Likewise, you also typically have the right to make a legal turn to avoid one. Nevertheless, if you have a BAC above 0.08%, driving through a DUI checkpoint may result in your arrest.

Whether you have been drinking when you drive into a DUI checkpoint, it may be advisable to exercise all your legal rights. Ultimately, though, if officers arrest you at a checkpoint, you should explore all possible defenses as soon after your arrest as possible.