All Pennsylvania drivers need to know exactly how drunk driving laws work. It may not be exactly how you expect.
For instance, maybe you already know that the police cannot stop a car without a reason. That reason may be something relatively minor, like a broken taillight, but they do need to have a reason. Random stops infringe on people’s rights.
This remains true even for drunk driving stops. Police cannot assume, for instance, that you must be intoxicated just because you are driving at 2:00 a.m. They can’t pull you over and check with a breath test just based on the timing, your age, your gender or anything of that nature. They need a reason to stop your car and proceed from there.
However, there is a major exception to this rule: DUI checkpoints. Rather than randomly stopping cars, police stop everyone who comes through. Some go through quickly, while others get detained for more extensive checks.
It sounds like this flies in the face of the initial rule about needing a reason to stop a driver, but this is a legal practice in Pennsylvania and it does happen. They just did it a short time back, over the Labor Day weekend, for example. They often use checkpoints around the holidays because they assume that more people are going to be driving under the influence at those times.
You can imagine that not everyone thinks checkpoints should be used, but you need to be aware of the reality that they are. If you get stopped and end up facing charges, you must know what defense options you have.