Sobriety Checkpoints

DUI Attorney Assisting Residents of Bucks County and Surrounding Areas

Bucks County DUI lawyer John M. Kenney represents people who have been charged with driving under the influence and related offenses in the Levittown area and elsewhere in Pennsylvania. Mr. Kenney has been fighting to protect his clients’ rights since 1983, and he works diligently to build persuasive defenses for each person whom he represents. Mr. Kenney is well respected among his neighbors and colleagues in the legal community for his straight-talk approach to legal representation. He helps clients fully understand their rights and options in each and every case.

Legal Limits on Sobriety Checkpoint Investigations

A sobriety checkpoint is typically a roadblock set up by police officers who stop cars intermittently to talk to drivers and observe them for signs of impairment. Different law enforcement departments may have different ways in which they carry out those stops, but the law generally permits the police to conduct checkpoints. With that said, the U.S. Constitution and state laws also place some important limits on these types of investigations.

Checkpoints are generally valid if they involve a brief stop and do not extend to a search of the car or anyone in it. The checkpoint location must be pre-approved, it must be based on knowledge about where drunk driving is likely to occur, and the police must give the public sufficient notice or warning about their plans. In many situations, law enforcement will not stop every single car that passes through a checkpoint. In these cases, they have to make their choices about whom to pull over based on some sort of objective criteria (every third car, for example) that eliminates officer discretion.

The stops should be no longer than is necessary for an officer to ask a driver a few questions and check for signs of intoxication, like slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and the smell of alcohol. The officer must have a reasonable suspicion to believe that a driver is intoxicated in order to ask the person to undergo field sobriety tests or submit to a breathalyzer exam. It is important to understand that someone who refuses to submit to a blood alcohol content test in Pennsylvania is likely to have his or her driver's license suspended for at least one year under state law.

Consult a Bucks County Lawyer When Facing a DUI Charge

John M. Kenney is a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the charges against you, negotiate with prosecutors, and fight your case through trial if necessary. He has been representing clients in DUI and other cases for more than three decades. Mr. Kenney believes in taking cases head-on and working aggressively to have charges dropped or reduced when possible. If you or a loved one is facing a drunk driving charge, call Bucks County DUI attorney John M. Kenney at (215) 547-3031 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. He can assist defendants in many Pennsylvania communities, including Levittown, Bristol, Morrisville, Fairless Hills, Yardley, and Langhorne.