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Rules for sobriety checkpoints in Philadelphia


There are many rules that drivers in Philadelphia must follow while driving. These rules include speed limits, signaling turns, obeying stop signs and lights and many other rules. Another rule that they must follow is that they must be sober when they drive. If a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving they could be charged with a DUI.

There are many ways that police in Pennsylvania try to find and stop drunk drivers. If a person is swerving in their lane, driving the wrong way or got into an accident, police may use this information to pull someone over on suspicion of drunk driving.

Another method police use to identify alleged drunk drivers is through the use of sobriety checkpoints. These are places where the police sit on the road and stop random vehicles to determine if the driver is under the influence. However, since these are random stops and are not based on the way the driver was driving, the checkpoints must follow certain rules.

The police must follow five main rules. The stop must be brief and not include a physical search. The police must notify drivers of the existence of the checkpoint. The checkpoint cannot just be one officer's decision to stop vehicles, the checkpoint must be approved by administration prior to doing it. The location of the checkpoint must be based on the fact that drunk driving is likely in the area based on past experience of the police. Finally, the cars which are stopped must be based on objective standards created by administration and not the whims of the police officer running the checkpoint.

Many people in Philadelphia are stopped at sobriety checkpoints each year. In order to make the stop legal, the checkpoint must be administered correctly by the police. If the checkpoint was done incorrectly a person may have a defense to a DUI charge. It is important to protect one's Constitutional rights, so those who believe they were unlawfully detained at a sobriety checkpoint may want to seek legal advice.

Source: Superior Court of Pennsylvania, "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Cipriano Garibay" accessed on March 1, 2016

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