Ah, Labor Day. For many of us, the long weekend honoring American workers that marks the unofficial end of summer will be spent relaxing by the pool, spending time with friends and family, and having one last cookout before the weather starts to change. Unfortunately, for some people, Labor Day weekend will also involve a trip to jail, as police are on the lookout for drunk drivers and invariably step up enforcement efforts around holiday weekends.

These enforcement efforts often involve sobriety checkpoints where police randomly stop cars that are going down a particular stretch of road to determine whether a driver has been drinking. If you find yourself in handcuffs after going through a checkpoint this Labor Day weekend, it’s important that you call an attorney as soon as you can to protect your legal rights.

You May Have Defenses Available in Your Case

It is important for anyone accused of drunk driving to keep in mind that there is a big difference between an arrest and a conviction. While it may feel like the cops have caught you red-handed, there are often defenses available that can reduce the penalties you are facing, result in an acquittal, or even force the prosecution to drop entirely drop its case against you. Some of these defenses include the following:

  • The police used unconstitutional procedures at the checkpoint – Sobriety checkpoints are required to comply with specific constitutional laws. For example, in Pennsylvania, the public must be given advance notice of the checkpoint and the stop must be brief and cannot include a search of the vehicle or its occupants. In cases where a checkpoint is deemed unconstitutional, any evidence gathered during the stop can usually be excluded from evidence.
  • The Breathalyzer test used in your case was not properly calibrated – The police base many DUI arrests on the results of Breathalyzer testing. In order for Breathalyzer devices to be accurate, however, they must be properly calibrated. Any evidence that indicates that the police did not properly calibrate the device used in your case or that the officer who administered the test lacked the necessary training to do so can cast doubt on the accuracy of the test. In fact, in some cases, it may be sufficient to have the result of the test thrown out entirely.

Remember, even in cases where a defense is not available, an attorney can often negotiate a plea bargain that helps you avoid the most serious consequences associated with a DUI. As a result, anyone arrested for drunk driving should retain an attorney to represent them, regardless of the circumstances of their arrest.

Call Skinner Law Firm Today

If the police have arrested you for drunk driving, it is imperative that you retain an attorney as soon as you can. Founding attorney Michael J. Skinner is a former prosecutor who understands how the other side thinks and can use this knowledge to bring your case to the most favorable resolution possible. To schedule a free case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer in West Chester, Pennsylvania, call our office today at (610) 436-1410 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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