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What you need to know about DUI checkpoints in Pennsylvania

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a huge mistake. After all, a DUI conviction can lead to significant criminal penalties. Even worse, if you have a DUI on your record, you may experience a variety of life consequences. As such, you should always do your best never to drink and drive in the Keystone State. 

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to operate a vehicle if you have a blood alcohol content over 0.08 percent. Because everyone is different, your BAC may climb faster than your neighbors. That is, after consuming just a couple of drinks, you may be over the legal limit. Before you find yourself driving up to a sobriety checkpoint, you should know a few things about this enforcement approach. 

Sobriety checkpoints override probable cause 

As you probably know, police officers usually must obtain a warrant before searching your property. The U.S. Supreme Court has carved out a motor vehicle exception to this rule, however. As such, officers only must have probable cause to stop your vehicle. With sobriety checkpoints, though, the standard is even lower. Provided officers follow certain guidelines, they may briefly detain you to determine if you are driving while impaired. They typically do not need probable cause to do so. 

Your actions at a checkpoint are important 

If you see a roadblock in front of you, you must act carefully. Remember, your actions at a DUI checkpoint may determine how officers treat you. Therefore, you should approach the sobriety checkpoint slowly and cautiously. If an officer asks to search your vehicle, you have the right to refuse. 

To avoid legal trouble, you should never drink and drive. It can be helpful to understand how sobriety checkpoints work even if you haven't been drinking, however. With a bit of diligence, you may be able to pass through the roadblock without a problem.  

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