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Do you have to go through a DUI checkpoint?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2019 | Uncategorized

One question that many people have is if they can stop and turn around if they see a DUI checkpoint. They may want to do so for any number of reasons, from not wanting to deal with the long lines to knowing that they could be over the limit.

Most people have stopped at a DUI checkpoint at one time or another, and the majority have no problems there. The thing you should know is that you’re actually under no obligation to pass through a DUI checkpoint.

Can you turn around when you see a DUI checkpoint?

You can turn around at a DUI checkpoint if you can do so without breaking other traffic laws. For example, if your street allows U-turns and a DUI checkpoint is ahead, you can make a U-turn legally and go in a different direction. However, if you make a U-turn on a street that does not allow it, an officer might pull you over for violating a traffic law.

Are DUI checkpoints legal?

Yes, based on past court rulings, they are legal and considered to be reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. However, you’re only required to submit to a search if you’re selected as you pass through the checkpoint.

Won’t trying to avoid a DUI checkpoint give an officer reasonable suspicion?

No, turning around at a DUI checkpoint isn’t enough to give an officer a reason to stop you. However, if you make an illegal turn, drive erratically or make other errors, then you may get pulled over. Officers can also stop you for any other vehicle code or traffic violation, such as having a tail light out or a window tint that is too dark. In general, as long as you’re not breaking any laws, you can turn around before a DUI checkpoint, but know that the officers there may try to find a different legal reason to stop you if you do.

DUI checkpoints are legal, despite many people arguing that they are a violation of privacy. If you see one up ahead and haven’t been drinking or doing anything illegal, it’s probably in your best interests to continue and pass through the checkpoint without issues. If you have had a few drinks, there is a risk that you could be stopped and tested, so it’s best not to drink before you get behind the wheel if you want to avoid a DUI.