In most cases, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop. The officer cannot pull you over for no reason and begin a DUI investigation.
However, that might not be the case at a DUI checkpoint in West Chester, PA. Therefore, it is important to understand your rights at a DUI checkpoint. Hiring an experienced West Chester DUI defense lawyer to handle your case is also essential.
With a former Chester County prosecutor leading our firm, you can trust that you have someone defending you who understands the criminal justice process from all sides. Since 2010, the legal team at DiCindio Law, LLC has fought to protect the legal rights of citizens throughout Pennsylvania.
How DiCindio Law, LLC, Can Assist You In Fighting DUI Charges in West Chester
You face significant time behind bars, probation, high fines, and other punishments for a DUI conviction. Do not trust that the prosecutor will offer you a fair DUI plea deal or that the judge will go lightly because this is your first time DUI arrest.
Instead, hire the experienced West Chester DUI attorney at DiCindio Law LLC to defend your case. You can expect our legal team to:
- Investigate the traffic stop and DUI arrest to ascertain whether the law enforcement officers violated your rights
- Obtain and analyze the evidence the state has against you
- Request independent lab testing of samples for BAC levels
- Develop a defense strategy that gives you the best chance of a positive outcome in your case
- Challenge the state’s evidence and gather other evidence supporting our defense
- Aggressively negotiate fair DUI plea agreements if going to court is not in your best interest
Don’t wait another day to get help with your drunk driving charges. Instead, contact us to schedule a free consultation with our criminal defense attorney in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
DUI Checkpoints Are Legal in Pennsylvania
First, it is crucial to understand that sobriety checkpoints are legal in the United States and under Pennsylvania law.
The United States Supreme Court held that sobriety checkpoints are an exception to a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. According to the court, the DUI checkpoints meet the standard for reasonable searches and seizures. Therefore, police do not need probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop a driver at a DUI checkpoint.
Pennsylvania courts have held that DUI checkpoints that follow specific requirements are legal, and the Pennsylvania Code allows police to use a “systematic program” to check drivers and vehicles.
The courts described a five-factor test for determining whether a DUI checkpoint is legal. Those factors are:
- Drivers must be stopped for only a brief period, and the stop must not include a physical search.
- There must be visible signs and warnings that a DUI checkpoint is ahead.
- The decision to schedule a sobriety checkpoint and the time and location of the checkpoint must have prior administrative approval.
- The place and time of the DUI checkpoint must be based on reasonable knowledge of when and where drunk drivers are likely to travel.
- Vehicles must be stopped according to a predetermined, fixed, objective standard established administratively and not by the officers conducting the sobriety checkpoint.
The five requirements help reduce the chance that the checkpoint violates a driver’s civil rights. While you might not be able to avoid a DUI checkpoint, understanding your rights can help you know what to do should you encounter a sobriety checkpoint.
What Are Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint in West Chester?
Some of the rights that drivers have regarding a DUI checkpoint are:
- You have the right to turn around or turn instead of proceeding to the checkpoint. However, the turn must be legal and safe. If there is no safe or legal place to turn around, an officer could pursue you for a traffic violation.
- You only need to provide the police officers with your name, driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance if you are directed to pull over at a checkpoint.
- Drivers can refuse field sobriety tests and preliminary breath tests. However, Pennsylvania’s implied consent laws require chemical testing after a DUI arrest. If you refuse, you face penalties for a chemical test refusal.
- You are not required to answer questions about where you have been, where you are going, have you been drinking, and other similar types of questions.
- You must exit the vehicle if the officer directs you to do so.
Even if you do not take a breath test or field sobriety tests, the officer might arrest you for DUI if they believe there is probable cause for a DUI arrest. It is the same as if you were pulled over driving home.
You could be charged with a felony DUI or a misdemeanor DUI offense at a sobriety checkpoint. The best thing to do after a DUI arrest is to contact our West Chester DUI lawyers as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Call Now for Your Free Consultation With a West Chester DUI Defense Lawyer
You do not have to face DUI charges alone. You can have an experienced legal team working on getting you out of this situation. Call our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with a West Chester DUI attorney.