Prepare for Thanksgiving DUI checkpoints

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2021 | Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving

Accidents involving drinking and driving tend to increase on holiday weekends. As the Thanksgiving weekend approaches, planned DUI checkpoints can result in arrests for drivers who have a few celebratory drinks.

Get the facts about Pennsylvania DUI checkpoints to understand your rights and responsibilities in this situation.

What to expect

At a DUI checkpoint, law enforcement sets up a roadblock to screen approaching drivers for signs of intoxication. The officer may briefly stop your car at the checkpoint and does not need to suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs to do so.

The officer may ask if you have been drinking. If you say yes or if you appear intoxicated, the officer can ask you to take a field sobriety test.

You do not have to answer questions at a DUI checkpoint beyond providing your name, address, license, registration and insurance. You can also refuse a breath test. However, exercising this right can result in a one-year license suspension under Pennsylvania law.

Legality of checkpoints

While Pennsylvania allows DUI checkpoints, the law enforcement agency must have a predetermined formula to decide which drivers to screen. For example, they can decide to stop every fourth car. The police department must advertise the location of checkpoints in advance. Typically, they choose areas that have a history of drunk driving accidents or arrests.

You can avoid a DUI checkpoint with a U-turn or other legal traffic maneuver. However, law enforcement can use this action as a reason to stop you for suspicion of DUI.