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Fourth of July Sobriety Checkpoint? ‘Tis the season!

Posted by Sean Quinlan | Jan 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

Long summertime holiday weekend?  Yup, take it to the bank – there will be checkpoints set up over the next few days.  Cumberland Count alone already set up “sobriety checkpoints” over three separate weekends during the summer of 2013.  Typically, they're set up at locations along major thoroughfares that have high numbers of restaurants/bars, concerts/stadiums that lead to or from Interstates 81, 581, 83 and 283.

Though roadblocks are not permitted on interstates, the police know that most traffic will seek access to an interstate to travel home.  So, the police will try to set up the sobriety checkpoints along one of these “feeder” roadways.  Police decide when and where they will place the roadblock and then converge at an appointed hour, typically between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., to block traffic on that road.

Roadblocks will usually be established around a bend in the road or over the crest of a hill, so that cars approaching the site will not have a side street to use to avoid passing through the checkpoint.  Each roadblock typically also has a “chase” car, an officer waiting in an idling cruiser at a strategic place to see any vehicles that attempt to avoid the roadblock.  These “chase” officers assume that any vehicle turning away from the roadblock is trying to avoid detection for possible impaired driving.  Appellate courts across the US have found that drivers who do not wish to be delayed at a night time construction site, or who believe they have happened upon an accident scene that is delaying traffic may find a safe way to leave and not pass through the safety or sobriety checkpoint.  However, if you make an abrupt, unsafe or illegal maneuver in turning around, this will usually justify the chase car pulling you over.

Remember, the best way to avoid a DUI charge is to not drink and get behind the wheel of a car.

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, give us a call as soon as possible.  Time is of the essence and we sincerely enjoy helping good people through tough times.

About the Author

Sean Quinlan

Attorney Quinlan has practiced law in Pennsylvania since 2001. He earned his J.D. at Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, PA, and earned his B.A. at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar. He also belongs to the Pennsylvania State Bar Associati...


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