State College, PA- Over the weekend, State College police stopped 600 drivers in a DUI checkpoint that has been heralded by local media and law enforcement alike for its many successes. As reported in the Centre Daily Times, drivers on North Atherton were in for an "unexpected stop" on Friday night.
For most, it meant a quick conversation with a police officer and a reminder to drive safely. Within seconds, they were on their way.
As the first sentence of the articles implies, this was little more than a friendly meet and greet for drivers to get acquainted with their local State College police officer. Did I forget to mention that these friendly police officers were armed with alcohol sniffing flashlights? Oh, and more importantly, State College drivers also were treated to the managing director of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) making a spectator sport out of Friday night's DUI checkpoint.
Evelyn McKee, manager of the area chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, looked on late Friday as officers made contact with drivers. She said getting even one intoxicated person off the road makes a difference. "I've been coming out for the last 12 years," she said. "I don't think I've been to one where I haven't seen someone who was intoxicated." But more than anything, McKee said, checkpoints deter others from driving drunk. Police agree. "It's two-fold," said Ferguson Township police Sgt. Ryan Hendrick. "We're going to get every impaired driver on this roadway tonight. Every person not impaired is reminded this can happen on any road in State College.
Having read the above quotes from Ms. McKee and Sgt. Hendricks, I felt that this was a good time to separate fact and the fictions that people like Ms. McKee perpetuate in order to further their agenda. First, lets start with the cost, the average DUI checkpoint conducted in Pennsylvania costs taxpayers in excess of $10,000. That's not including the time spent by State College police stopping law abiding drivers for crimes they have not committed, instead of investigating actual criminal activity and chasing actual bad guys. In case you are wondering, less than 1% of all vehicles stopped in a checkpoint are prosecuted for DUI. Put another way, 99% of the drivers that are stopped in a checkpoint are completely sober and have not broken a single law, yet they are subjected to the same intrusive search, which the Supreme Court of the United States has noted is a violation of your constitutional rights, as the 1% of drivers who are over the legal limit. That means that State College residents spent $10,000 to arrest 6 suspected DUI drivers. That is the same number of DUI arrests that State College police made without a checkpoint on State Patty's day. In this climate of educational cutbacks and evaporating pensions, is this the most effective means of spending our tax dollars? And more importantly, why are people like Ms. McKee and Sgt. Hendricks trumpeting the success of a DUI checkpoints when they have a 99% failure rate? Oh and did I mention that texting while driving or driving while drowsy have all been proven to be more dangerous than driving with a BAC of .08. If you have found yourself arrested for DUI as a result of a DUI checkpoint, it is imperative that you hire a State College DUI lawyer to represent you, as there are many defenses to DUI arrests based upon a checkpoint stop.