The warm days of summer are quickly approaching! This means parties and barbeques with family and friends. It means drinks by the pool and early evening visits to the deck at your local watering hole. With the upcoming holiday weekend, along with what is sure to be an exciting weekend for Philadelphia hockey fans, it also means that local police departments will be setting up DUI checkpoints throughout the area. As the weekend approaches, well before you don your swim trunks and sandals or your best orange and black Flyers shirt, be sure to check your local newspaper for public notification of the potential locations for DUI checkpoints. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will also publicly notify upcoming checkpoints. Rarely will either of these disclose the exact location and time, however, it is a good idea to be aware of what towns and areas in they will be located. If you decide to party this holiday weekend, my office suggests the best way to avoid a DUI prosecution is to designate a sober driver. However, if you do get caught at one of these checkpoints and have had a few too many, hiring quality legal representation is ideal--there are strict rules governing police officers that conduct these checkpoints and their mistakes may provide you with legal options.
In order to comply with Federal and state Constitutional rights against search and seizures, Pennsylvania police officers must adhere to what are commonly referred to as the "Tarbert-Blouse" guidelines (named after a series of Pennsylvania State Supreme Court cases dealing with checkpoints in the 1980's).