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Police use checkpoints to find drivers committing DWI offenses

There are many ways in which drivers in Pennsylvania can be stopped for an investigation to determine if driving under the influence is taking place. Oftentimes, law enforcement officials are on patrol and see a driver behaving suspiciously or exhibiting possible hallmarks of DUI or DWI. In other instances, law enforcement officials will set up a checkpoint to randomly stop vehicles and check to see if drivers might be intoxicated. While this can lead to an arrest, a conviction and the potential consequences, drivers should consider their alternatives for a defense when they are arrested in this way.

A recent highway sobriety checkpoint resulted in five arrests. Local law enforcement officials combined with the Checkpoint Strike Force of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The checkpoint was set up in a shopping area. At least 1,100 vehicles passed by the area. During the traffic stops, there were eight people who were asked to submit to field sobriety tests.

Three were placed under arrest for DUI. Another was arrested for DUI drugs. These investigations can yield arrests for other reasons as well, and one driver was found with drug paraphernalia and a controlled substance. Others were cited for code issues. A separate checkpoint was held in Butler. More than 150 drivers spoke to troopers. Four were arrested for DUI.

A checkpoint searching for drivers who might be committing DWI offenses has a different dynamic than other kinds of DWI stops and investigations. When it is a traffic stop, the defense can consider whether the stop was justifiable or if the driver's rights were violated. The way the testing was done can be questioned. The admissibility of the tests could be problematic for the prosecution. There are aspects of a checkpoint that can be scrutinized in a similar way. The driver might have seemed under the influence, but was not. Other issues could have affected the decision to make the arrest and these can be challenged. After an arrest at a checkpoint, it might be useful to have a strong DWI or DUI defense strategy.

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