Pittsburgh Sobriety Checkpoints and Speed Traps – What To Watch
In an effort to reduce incidents of drunk driving and speeding, Pennsylvania State Police and local police departments use a variety of techniques including sobriety checkpoints, and speed traps. Both of these techniques are legal, even if they’re not tied to specific suspicious activity, and they result in countless numbers of arrests each year.
If you’ve been stopped for speeding, drunk driving (DUI), or driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), you’re probably feeling scared, confused, or angry. Sobriety checkpoints and speed traps are by design meant to catch people unaware. But at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we know these preventative techniques aren’t foolproof. In fact, they’re frequently faulty. If you’ve been stopped at a checkpoint or speed trap and are seeking representation, call the experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today.
What are Sobriety Checkpoints?
Pennsylvania police are legally allowed to stop drivers in an effort to prevent drunk driving at designated checkpoints, known as sobriety checkpoints, mobile checkpoints, or simply roadblocks. Normally, under Pennsylvania law, a state trooper must have probable cause to stop a driver from operating his or her vehicle. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1990 an exemption exists for sobriety checkpoints, which, they argued, pose a low degree of intrusion relative to other forms of search and seizure.
While sobriety checkpoint locations often seem random, Pennsylvania police are required to announce their locations in advance of setting them up. If you’re heading out and about, especially during the holidays, and want to avoid the headache of a sobriety checkpoint on your way home, be sure to check out the publicized location ahead of time online.
Ways To Avoid A Speed Trap
Speed traps, like sobriety checkpoints, are designed to stop drivers who are breaking the law, specifically those who are speeding. Unlike sobriety checkpoints, they are far less transparent. In a speed trap, a state trooper will try to detect the speed of a vehicle while hiding from view. Typically using radar, VASCAR, or the ENRADD system, he or she will monitor unsuspecting motorists from a distance.
To avoid getting a speeding ticket as a result of a speed trap, follow these tips:
- Watch for drops in speed limit—Officers often “trap” motorists right after a speed limit has suddenly dropped. Pay attention to changes in speed, especially just after a posted speed limit sign.
- Keep an eye on overpasses—State troopers frequently spring from on-ramps to surprise alleged speeding motorists. As on-ramps often connect to overpasses, double check your speed when nearing one.
- Monitor your surroundings—Speed traps can take many forms and, sometimes, state troopers and police officers are in plain sight. The best way to avoid a speed trap is to maintain situational awareness while driving. Some tools, such as the crowdsourcing phone app, Waze, can help drivers alert one another to upcoming traffic, hazards, and even speed traps.
How the Experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help
Both checkpoints and speed traps can act as a deterrent to those who might otherwise choose to drive under the influence of alcohol or speed. However, at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC we know they’re both imperfect methods of prevention. Our experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorneys have seen countless cases of faulty sobriety checkpoints and malfunctioning police or state trooper speedometers. If you were charged with a DUI at a sobriety checkpoint or were caught speeding in a speed trap, call us for a free, initial consultation at (412) 281-2146 today.