To catch drunk drivers in Pennsylvania, some law enforcement officials will set up a DUI checkpoint and stop every driver who passes through that area. As a result, the police can stop just as many sober drivers as intoxicated ones. Since police don’t seem to have probable cause for stopping the vehicle, many people have wondered if DUI checkpoints are a violation of their constitutional rights.
What to know about DUI checkpoints
According to criminal law, DUI checkpoints are perfectly legal. For some people, this might seem like an illegal search and seizure. How can the police say that they have probable cause if they’re stopping every driver they see regardless of their behavior?
The Supreme Court has ruled that DUI checkpoints are legal because getting drunk drivers off the road is more important than potentially stopping an innocent person. If you were arrested after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint, your DUI attorney probably won’t be able to bring up the checkpoint in court. Since the Supreme Court has ruled that checkpoints aren’t an illegal form of search and seizure, you likely won’t be able to get the evidence thrown out on that basis alone.
Despite this, you still have rights when you’re stopped at a DUI checkpoint. If you believe that law enforcement violated your rights in any way, make sure you bring it up to your attorney. This doesn’t mean that the charges will be automatically dropped, but it might have a drastic impact on the outcome of the case.
How might an attorney help you after you’ve been arrested?
No matter what they’ve done, everyone has the right to a fair trial in court. An attorney may help you protect your rights by giving you the best possible defense and making sure that the prosecution doesn’t take advantage of you.
Hiring an attorney may also keep you from making mistakes early on. For example, some people make statements after their arrest that they don’t realize will harm their case. Your attorney might tell you what to say and advise you to stay quiet in certain situations.