Gearing up to Fourth of July, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) and other law enforcement are rolling out DUI checkpoints across the state. According to CBS Pittsburgh, the checkpoints will continue through July 5.
The agencies are trying to prevent impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel and ultimately causing vehicle accidents. A member of the DOT stated that in 2017, police officers were called to more than 530 crashes that involved impaired drivers in the two weeks before Independence Day.
In some states, these checkpoints are illegal, but state law specifically allows for checkpoints in Pennsylvania. These roadblocks can be used throughout the year, not just around specific holidays.
Know your rights at checkpoints
Despite the legality of DUI checkpoints, that does mean police officers can violate your constitutional rights. Law enforcement may stop your vehicle briefly, and check your license and plates. This also gives officers the opportunity to smell your breath and peek inside your automobile.
However, it does not give law enforcement the right to search your vehicle. Officers can only search your vehicle if they have reasonable cause to believe you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They can also conduct a search if you give your consent.
If there is just cause to search your automobile, you still do not have to answer questions law enforcement asks you. It may be in your best interests to not answer their questions, since you may say something self-incriminating.
Do not try to dodge a DUI checkpoint
Trying to avoid a DUI roadblock is not recommended. Generally, law enforcement is closely watching all vehicles approaching a checkpoint, so trying to evade it simply will not work.
If you are detained at a DUI checkpoint, you likely will want to contact legal representation. An attorney can review your case and determine the best way to move forward with your defense.