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DUI checkpoints can't profile drivers

Drunk driving is a problem that can lead to serious crashes. Because of the public safety issue with this, police departments often conduct DUI checkpoints to try to stave off the possibility of drunk driving crashes. These checkpoints must be handled properly if they are going to be effective.

One important thing to know about these checkpoints is that the vehicles that are stopped must follow a pattern. For example, officers might stop every fifth vehicle or every other vehicle. Short of having reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle that doesn't fall in the sequence, officers can't break the sequence.

DUI checkpoints can't use things that are going to make them prone to discrimination. For example, the officers couldn't decide to stop every car on chrome rims that aren't factory rims. This could be considered profiling.

If you are chosen to stop at a DUI checkpoint for the officers to see if you are intoxicated, you might wonder if these roadblocks are legal. In Pennsylvania, they are legal; however, there are 12 other states in which they are not.

The United States Supreme Court found that DUI checkpoints are a privacy intrusion; however, it also found that the benefit to public safety outweighs the need to keep privacy intact.

If you are stopped in a DUI checkpoint and end up arrested for drunk driving, make sure that you learn your rights for answering to the charges. This is the first step in planning your defense. Ideally, you will write down what you remember about the checkpoint so that your defense attorney might be able to use the information in your defense.

Source: FindLaw, "DUI Checkpoints," accessed July 07, 2017

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