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Is it legal to leave a sobriety checkpoint?

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If you have spent any time driving late at night, you have likely come across a DUI sobriety checkpoint. Police can establish these check points after following proper procedures in an effort to monitor intoxicated drivers in a clearly defined area.

But do you actually have to go through this check point when you see it? Or is it possible to take another route?

Making legal moves

LifeSafer mentions that it is entirely legal to avoid a sobriety checkpoint.  In fact, one of the protocols for establishing these checkpoints is to have an escape route whereby a driver after receiving notice of the check point can choose to turn off to avoid it.  However, you have to go about it in the right way. You cannot simply ignore the rules of the road in order to turn around as fast as possible and go another way.

When trying to leave a DUI checkpoint, you must make sure that you can make a legal turn or U-turn.  You cannot cut off other vehicles to do so, nor can you swerve, change lanes recklessly, speed, or cross a solid line.

Stay aware of the police.

However, even if you make a legal turn, police will likely keep an eye on you due to innate suspicions of anyone attempting to avoid the DUI stop. They may look for another reason to pull you over instead. This can include the typical things that officers will keep an eye out for if they have a reason to pull you over, such as expired license plate stickers, not using turn signals or broken tail lights.

If you are stopped at a sobriety check point and the officer has reason to believe you have been drinking and driving, they can then request that you get out of your car to take standardized field sobriety tests and possibly a portable breath test.