Pennsylvania DUI Checkpoints to Continue

Get Ready to Have your Right Violated For Another Year in the Name of DUI Enforcement

Quantity vs Quality:  The Pennsylvania DUI Checkpoint Fight
Quantity vs Quality: The Pennsylvania DUI Checkpoint Fight

State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski announced recently that Pennsylvania DUI checkpoints will continue for at least another year, so get ready for another year of your rights being violated and being treated like a criminal just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Pennsylvania State Police argue the legitimacy of these DUI checkpoints by citing DUI arrest data.  Pennsylvania DUI lawyers like myself argue that this data is inconclusive as it does not show how many people were actually guilty of the crime they were accused of–an arrest is not a conviction.  I have written before about the Pennsylvania DUI arrest numbers and how the police are not telling the entire story.  To put it briefly, in my extensive experience defending DUI checkpoint cases, I have found that many police officers are guilty of DUI Tunnel Vision, meaning they operate with the attitude that anything that looks like a DUI must be a DUI.  In reality, many of these drivers were simply tired, ill or under the effects of medication and since they were confused and uncoordinated, they were arrested for DUI.  Diabetics produced high amounts of acetone in their bodies and the breath machines the police use detect this and report this as alcohol.  I have seen many diabetics wrongfully arrested for Pennsylvania DUI violations.  Unfortunately, not enough time or money is spent on training police officers properly and monitoring them to ensure that they are, in fact, enforcing the law based on established principles.

The matter here is quality vs. quantity.  The police and politicians in Pennsylvania want to increase arrest numbers to make themselves look more responsive.  In some counties police officers are even issued awards based on the volume of arrests.  Police should be motivated by their duty to uphold the law not by money and awards.  Motivation based on money leads to corruption.  Don’t believe me?:

City paying out $300G to Queens brothers falsely accused by cops of selling drugs

Two Queens men cleared by a security video of bogus drug charges are getting $300,000 settlement from the city – and the two cops accused of setting them up have resigned.

Jose Colon and his brother Maximo lost their grocery store and were plunged into debt as a result of the criminal case fabricated by the NYPD narcotics officers, authorities said Monday.

The circumstances of the case prompted a federal judge overseeing the victims’ suit to declare the NYPD is plagued by “widespread falsification” by arresting officers.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown indicted Detective Stephen Anderson and Officer Henry Tavarez last year on a slew of corruption charges after prosecutors viewed the video taken inside the Delicias de Mi Tierra nightclub in Elmhurst the night of the arrests.

The cops claimed that on Jan. 5, 2008, the Colon brothers sold them two bags of cocaine.

The video confirmed that was false.

Later, Anderson told Tavarez to claim he had forgotten the details of the drug buy, according to prosecutors.

“The officers thought they could get away with it,” said lawyer Rochelle Berliner, who represented the Colons along with co-counsel Christina Hall.

“I believe they were motivated by overtime and arrest numbers,” she said Monday.

“The more bodies [arrests] they brought in, the more overtime money they would make. Otherwise, it’s just pure evil.”

The police want quantity but my fight and duty as a DUI lawyer in Pennsylvania is to ensure against false DUI accusations based upon inaccurate or not enough data.  We would all be much safer if police officers were properly trained to detect DUI cases and arrested only those who are truly guilty.  However, no one wants to fight that fight because arresting more people is easier and looks better on paper. I fight that fight everyday, in courtrooms all across Pennsylvania so that none of my clients fall victim to bad policing or corruption and end up being penalized for a crime they did not commit.  Remember, as a society, we will never get better quality if we don’t fight for it.

Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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