Police in Pennsylvania use sobriety checkpoints to conduct random stops of motorists and determine whether they are driving while impaired. Last month, however, the state Supreme Court suppressed evidence in a drunk driving prosecution of a New York motorist because the police departments from 16 different jurisdictions did not comply with laws governing inter-governmental operation of sobriety checkpoints.
Police use a battery of tests to support stopping a motorist for driving while intoxicated. A portable breathalyzer test can play a major part in the prosecution of a drunk driving offense. A breathalyzer is an instrument used by police that measures a driver's blood alcohol concentration through the alcohol in their breath. Drivers may pass the test if they ingested alcohol at the rate of one drink per hour. There are several factors that can affect the accuracy of this device.
Law enforcement has been trying to overcome obstacles with screening motorists for drug-impaired driving after states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use and the opioid crisis has grown. Unlike drunk driving, there are no breath-testing devices to measure drivers for drug impairment. Pennsylvania and another eight other states, however, have started programs allowing police to draw blood from motorists to detect drug-impaired driving.
Motorists facing drunk driving charges could be stuck with long term consequences. Now, under a new Pennsylvania law, motorists charged with drunk driving face a difficult choice. They may plead guilty and agree to drive with an ignition interlock device. This device measures the alcohol content of a driver's breath and will prevent the vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
Most Pennsylvanians know that the laws that the state and federal government have put into place were enacted to protect the rights and safety of all who live in those jurisdictions. Family laws are in place to ensure that relationships are given their legal weight and so that children's needs are not lost during divorces and separations; contract laws are necessary to work out problems when challenges to agreements arise; criminal laws are enacted to deter crime and to punish those who have allegedly violated the laws.
When it comes to evaluating a person's level of intoxication, many Pennsylvanians think of the blood or breath-based tests that law enforcement officials may administer to learn of a person's blood alcohol concentration. A person's blood alcohol concentration, often shortened to BAC, is a number that indicates the amount of alcohol that is in a person's body. State laws are written with BAC in mind and with intoxicated driving charges generally applying when a driver's BAC reaches or exceeds .08.