Labor Day is one of many holiday weekends that sees a substantial increase in drunk driving. The combination of great weather, an extra day off work, and the approaching end of summer leads to increased gatherings with friends and family. These backyard celebrations tend to include as much alcohol as food and fun, and if individuals don’t plan ahead they could end up drunk driving, being arrested for a DUI, or hurting someone in a crash.

Because of increased risks, Philadelphia police traditionally increase DUI checkpoints throughout the area over Labor Day weekend. If you are arrested for a DUI at a checkpoint, call the Philadelphia DUI defense attorneys at Fienman Defense at (215) 839-9529 right away.

Rules Regarding DUI Checkpoints

Pennsylvania allows DUI / sobriety checkpoints throughout the state. However, the police do not have the right to put a checkpoint anywhere and run it however they want. Numerous Pennsylvania court decisions lay out the rules for how police can and must conduct a roadblock.

All DUI checkpoints must:

  • Be in an area with an increased risk for drunk driving. The time and place of a roadblock are subject to administrative approval. Roadblocks are usually on roads that see drunk driving during holiday weekends, and they are likely between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Police cannot put up random roadblocks for no reason.
  • Be visible to approaching cars. The roadblock cannot be hidden in order to trick people. There are usually signs and lights making it obvious a block or two away.
  • Have a set equation for stopping cars. The police cannot stop random cars because courts have found this leads to discrimination. There must be a predesignated system for which vehicles will be stopped, such as every car or every third vehicle.
  • Be quick. A sobriety roadblock may be considered an unconstitutional search and seizure unless it is brief. If your car is stopped, the police are allowed to ask a few questions to ascertain whether there are any signs that you have been drinking. Without any evidence of drunk driving, you will be told to move along. If the officer believes you may have been drinking, you will be asked to pull over.

Understand Your Rights

You always have certain rights when you are stopped by the police, but the cop who stopped you at the DUI checkpoint may not make these clear to you. Here are your rights during a DUI / sobriety stop:

  • Provide your name and information. You are required to identify yourself to the police and offer proof of insurance. You don’t have to answer any additional questions without an attorney present.
  • Step out of the car. If you are asked to get out of the vehicle, you must comply. Do so calmly and slowly.
  • Refuse field sobriety tests. You have the right to refuse all field sobriety tests, which often only provide evidence against you.
  • Do not consent to vehicle searches. The police do not automatically have the right to search your vehicle. They must have probable cause do so. If they ask if they can look in your car, glovebox, or trunk, you can say no.

Fienman Defense Can Help

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported more than 750 people died in drunk driving crashes during Labor Day weekends from 2010 to 2014. It’s likely that hundreds, if not thousands, of more individuals were injured in alcohol-related accidents – including the individuals who made the mistake of getting behind the wheel after one too many drinks.

Most people don’t intend to drink and drive. They get in their cars because they believe they are fine. However, these mistakes lead to individuals facing criminal charges for drunk driving or hurting others in a collision. If you were pulled over or stopped at a DUI checkpoint and arrested for drunk driving, don’t hesitate to call the Philadelphia DUI defense attorneys at Fienman Defense at (215) 839-9529.

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