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PA Governor Signs Law to Protect Regional DUI Checkpoints

Posted by David Cohen | Mar 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

Most Pennsylvanians are familiar with the seemingly ever-present DUI checkpoint. For many unsuspecting resident and non-residents, these DUI checkpoints can appear anywhere and up until the end of May 2019, multiple police agencies could have been involved with one checkpoint. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, however, issued a 35-page opinion that effectively halted any regional DUI checkpoints.

The case that led to the decision involved Molly Hlubin of Buffalo, New York, who was stopped via one of these regional checkpoints on September 29, 2013. This particular checkpoint involved police from 16 jurisdictions. The location was strategic: it was intended to catch concert-goers leaving KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown. And it worked. Molly was arrested and charged. But the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated it was unlawful because the jurisdictions did not have a formal agreement required per the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act.

The State, maybe surprised by the Supreme Court's opinion, took swift action. The Governor signed into law on July 2, 2019House Bill 1614 intended to reverse the Supreme Court's ruling. 

What does House Bill 1614 Mean for Drivers in Pennsylvania?

The new bill effectively allows police departments in various jurisdictions to work together to plan DUI checkpoints without the need of an agreement between municipal governments – all that is needed is the municipal police department's approval.

But also for those of you who thought the Supreme Court's decision would have a positive impact on your pending case – it won't now. The new law is retroactive to 1982 for all Hlubin-related legal issues.

How do you find out about DUI checkpoints in Pennsylvania?

By law, DUI checkpoints must be advertised in Pennsylvania. In order for them to be legitimate and constitutional, the police administering the DUI checkpoint must "follow specified procedures, systematic, non-discriminatory, non-arbitrary roadblocks for the purpose of insuring safety on the highways." (Com v. Ziegelmeier, 454 Pa Super. 330, 685 A.2d 559, 561 (1996).

Unfortunately, there is no one place to go to see if there is a DUI checkpoint scheduled. Local news usually report it when law enforcement agencies inform them. This means if you know you will be going out, maybe to a concert or a workplace party, then check your area newspaper online to see if a DUI checkpoint is scheduled; it'll usually be advertised a few days in advance. 

Contact a DUI Attorney in Pottstown PA Today

As a former police officer, David J. Cohen has an inside perspective on what police think and why they operate, especially in terms of driving under the influence matters. If you have been arrested for DUI as a result of a DUI roadblock, contact David J. Cohen today. The roadblocks must be constitutional. The latter is particularly important since it conflicts with your Fourth Amendment rights where the police typically must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over for a traffic stop and DUI investigation. If your rights have been violated, David J. Cohen will be able to recognize it and address it timely and effectively.

Contact the David J. Cohen Law Firm, LLC today to get started on your case. 

About the Author

David Cohen

Pennsylvania Attorney David J. Cohen affords an ideal background for his legal services offered in two areas: criminal defense and family law. Hes uniquely suited for defending and protecting the rights of those accused of crimes since he is a former police officer. Attorney Cohen was once a fa...

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