Sobriety checkpoints are a fact of life in Pennsylvania and they ARE put in the most inconvenient spots – you know – at the time and place where drunk drivers are most likely to be.
As a Montgomery County dui lawyer for over twenty years, I see these checkpoints a lot in Willow Grove, Abington, King of Prussia, as well as almost every exit off of I-76 that is located within Montgomery County.
The checkpoints are set up in such a way that, if you are a motorist, by the time you know one is ahead you are already in it. Motorists in this position feel they have no choice but to proceed through and, in the event they have been drinking, take their chances. What to do? – just keep moving towards it like a cattle through a chute?
The answer: Where a motorist has an opportunity to a avoid a checkpoint and does so lawfully, police have no legal basis to institute a motor vehicle stop. Comm. v. Scavello, 557 Pa. 429 (1999). Its the law. As a practical matter, this leaves open the possibility of turning your car around lawfully and going the other way when you see the checkpoint. No illegal U-turns. Use the turn signals. No wide turns. Is the cop going to see you do it and pursue your vehicle? Well – if he does he better have some type pf probable cause to pull over your car other than the fact that you blew off the checkpoint or the stop is illegal. So there ya have it gamblers – you can evade a DUI checkpoint – but make sure you do everything right when you do it.