The Pennsylvania State Police in Lewistown are scheduled to conduct a DUI Sobriety Checkpoint in August in Mifflin and/or Juniata County, according to a report by the Lewistown Sentinel.
Motorists will be stopped briefly at the sobriety checkpoint. During these stops, police will look for signs of drunk driving and drugged driving, as well as other violations of the law.
Validity of DUI Sobriety Checkpoints
To date, our courts have held that drunk driving roadblocks are constitutional so long as they are conducted in compliance with established standards:
- The roadblock may only require a momentary stop to allow police to observe the motorist without any physical search of the vehicle or its occupants. The police may request your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance.
- The roadblock must avoid unnecessary surprise. Accordingly, advance notice of the DUI Sobriety Checkpoint must be provided (for example, by publication in a local newspaper) and it must be set up so it can be observed from a reasonable distance.
- The decision to hold the drunk driving roadblock, as well as its time and place, require prior administrative approval.
- There must be evidence, based on local experience, that the route selected is traveled by impaired drivers.
- The time of the DUI roadblock must comport with this same standard.
- The determination of which vehicles to stop must be made in accordance with objective standards and established by administrative approval, not left to the sole discretion of the police officers conducting the stops. Commonwealth v. Tarbert, 535 A.2d 1035, 1043 (Pa. 1987).
If the police observe signs of alcohol impairment during a sobriety checkpoint or traffic stop, they may further their investigation by conducting Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and/or a Preliminary or Portable Breath Test (PBT) that could lead to your arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
The DUI Penalties in Pennsylvania are very serious. Even for a first offense DUI, you could face mandatory jail time, fines, and a driver's license suspension.
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