The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

DUI Laws That Drivers Should Know: DUI Checkpoints

Every week there seems to be a new batch of DUI arrests that were collected at a DUI checkpoint.

The Herald-Mail reports that two people were . In addition to the two DUI arrests, two other people were arrested for drug violations. Another person was arrested for underage drinking. A second DUI checkpoint was stationed in the Radio Hill area of Hamilton Township. From that checkpoint, officers issued 34 warnings.

In a span of four hours, from 11 p.m. on Friday night until 3 a.m. on Saturday morning, the police believe that they stopped about 300 vehicles.

In order to better understand your rights at a DUI Checkpoint, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute created a list of . Categorized by state, the list contains citations and statutes regarding DUI checkpoints that are familiar with.

First of all, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) explains that DUI checkpoints have been upheld under the state and federal Constitution. This means that it is legal for officers to set up a DUI checkpoint in Pennsylvania. They mention that under Commonwealth v. Blee, a DUI checkpoint must be located in an area where DUIs are prevalent. In Commonwealth v. Scavello, the IIHS states that if a driver makes a legal U-turn before reaching the DUI checkpoint, that is not a justifiable reason for a police officer to stop that car. In a previous post I explained that an officer needs reasonable suspicion or he must witness a traffic violation before he can pull over a vehicle.

In connection with that last ruling, the IIHS explains that Commonwealth v. Pacek added that a DUI checkpoint "does not have to provide a legal means of avoidance." This means that in some cases, a DUI checkpoint could be set up in such a way, that a driver cannot turn his vehicle around without committing a traffic violation. In that case, the driver can then be stopped.

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