Papers Please

This past Friday members of the Valley Forge Revolutionaries had planned another Suspicionless Checkpoint Nullification ( They have had one such event in the past, and it seemed to have gone quite well (

The goal of the checkpoint was to warn oncoming mottorists of a checkpoint coming up, and to give them a chance to exit.

The police ended up moving the checkpoint to avoid protesters as well as to avoid video recordings of their warrantless searches (

From the Organizers


Building on the success of our last checkpoint nullification we’re going to do it again. We’ll be warning travelers of this danger with signs. If successful, we will keep some people out of government cages. The next checkpoint is down the road from the last one in Abington.

Bring whatever cameras you have. Video, still, or just your cell phone. The more cameras the better!

Call Darren Wolfe at 484-932-8395 for press inquiries & more info.

When at the checkpoint nullification it is vital that no one talk to the police no matter how friendly they seem. This is the strategy we used very successfully last time to keep from being shut down. Please watch the video to see how it was done:


Under Pennsylvania law, you may make a legal U-turn or turn off onto a side road when approaching a DUI checkpoint. But what if an officer sees you doing it? Well, according to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, “[a]n officer’s mere hunch that an intoxicated motorist is seeking to avoid the checkpoint is insufficient.” In short, as long as you are making a legal maneuver and driving in a normal manner, the police cannot pull you over.

However, if you cannot legally drive around the DUI checkpoint, you may be stopped by the officer.

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Michigan Department of State Police vs. Sitz established many of the guidelines that govern the operation of sobriety checkpoints. The Supreme Court’s ruling is meant to balance the rights of individuals against society’s need to prevent drunk driving.

The Court ruled that police conducting sobriety checkpoints must use a neutral mathematical formula, such as every third vehicle, to select which drivers and vehicles to stop. This is designed to reduce the possibility of stopping drivers based solely on appearance.

The court’s ruling also established that sobriety checkpoints must ensure the safety of both drivers and police, be highly visible, and minimize the amount of time that each driver is stopped at the checkpoint.

Police should stop each driver just long enough to ask a few brief questions and to spot signs of intoxication such as an odor of alcohol, slurred speech, and glassy, bloodshot eyes. Drivers that show no signs of intoxication should be allowed to leave the checkpoint without any further delay.

Sobriety checkpoints must be planned as part of an ongoing safe-driving campaign and follow established departmental policy. Sobriety checkpoints should be planned with the help of a supervising judge and a representative from the district attorney’s office. The supervising officers must thoroughly understand the civil rights and safety issues that can arise at a sobriety checkpoint. Police should advise the public of the sobriety checkpoint by making an announcement through local media, although they’re not required to disclose the exact location.

The Supreme Court deemed that the primary purpose of a sobriety checkpoint cannot be to detect evidence of crimes or to arrest drunk drivers, but must be intended to safeguard the public by preventing drunk driving. Because of this, sobriety checkpoints are classified as serving a regulatory purpose rather than a criminal investigation, and therefore police don’t need a warrant to stop drivers entering the roadblock.

However, the Supreme Court ruled that stopping a car at a roadblock constitutes a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. A Fourth Amendment seizure occurs “when there is a governmental termination of freedom of movement through means intentionally applied.” However, the courts have determined that not all roadblocks violate the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

A balancing test that weighs the intrusiveness of the stop on the individual against the government’s interests is used to determine whether individuals’ Fourth Amendment rights are violated.

Based on Pennsylvania case law, to comply with Federal and State Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, a sobriety checkpoint must meet the following five criteria:

(1) vehicle stops must be brief and must not entail a physical search,


(2) there must be sufficient warning of the existence of the checkpoint,


(3) the decision to conduct a checkpoint, as well as the decisions as to time and place for the checkpoint, must be subject to prior administrative approval,


(4) the choice of time and place for the checkpoint must be based on local experience as to where and when intoxicated drivers are likely to be traveling, and


(5) the decision as to which vehicles to stop at the checkpoint must be established by administratively pre-fixed, objective standards, and must not be left to the unfettered discretion of law enforcement officers at the scene.

It may be possible to challenge evidence gathered at a sobriety checkpoint or even your Pennsylvania DUI arrest itself.





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