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What is a DUI Checkpoint?

DUI checkpoints, also known as DUI roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints, are becoming an increasingly popular tool used by law enforcement agencies across the country to help combat widespread issues with drivers being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But what exactly are these checkpoints and how are they deployed?

Here’s a quick overview.

What to expect at a DUI checkpoint

A DUI checkpoint is a designated area at which officers will stop drivers with a specific pattern. They might, for example, decide they will stop every fifth car that passes through. They will then evaluate the driver of the vehicle they stopped to determine if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Unlike other types of DUI stops, stops at DUI checkpoints do not require the officer to have probable cause. In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that as long as law enforcement agencies meet particular criteria with their checkpoints, they do not need probable cause to pull people over and investigate them for DUI. These criteria include advance notice of the location and time of these checkpoints, and a reasonably “brief intrusion” when making the stops.

There are 11 states that have outlawed the use of DUI checkpoints, but Pennsylvania is not one of those states, so if you encounter them you are required to comply with the requests of officers.

To learn more about DUI checkpoints and how they are used in law enforcement, we encourage you to contact experienced criminal defense lawyer in Berks County David R. Eshelman.


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