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What if you refuse to stop at a DUI checkpoint?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Drunk driving puts impaired motorists and other road users at risk of bodily harm. It’s for this reason that law enforcement set up DUI checkpoints – to keep drunk drivers off the roads.

Unfortunately, most people do not understand their rights and obligations at DUI checkpoints. This challenge can lead to confusion that may give rise to legal consequences for impaired and sober motorists alike.

Understanding what happens at DUI checkpoints

At DUI checkpoints, law enforcement officers screen motorists for alcohol and other drugs. This involves looking out for signs of impairment like the existence of open alcohol containers in the car, the smell of alcohol and bloodshot eyes among other signs of intoxication. It can also involve the administration of sobriety tests.

Refusing to stop at a DUI checkpoint

As long as the checkpoint is legal, you have to comply with an officer’s signal to stop. If you refuse to stop if you have run out of ways to lawfully take an alternative route, you might set yourself up for serious legal consequences even if you were not drunk in the first place.

What if you turn around before reaching the checkpoint?

The police will usually inform the public before setting up a DUI checkpoint. Whereas it is not illegal to make a lawful turn, this could be risky, especially if the police get the impression that you are doing so to avoid the checkpoint. Consequently, this might give them a reason to pursue and stop you. Also, keep in mind that usual traffic laws still apply. For instance, if you make an unlawful U-turn, the police will clearly suspect that you are trying to evade the checkpoint, and they will be able to stop you for engaging in an unlawful maneuver.

Protecting your rights

While you are required by law to stop at a DUI checkpoint, it is important that you understand your legal protections. These include protection from self-incrimination and unreasonable search and seizure. Seeking legal guidance promptly can help you to pursue a favorable outcome in the event that you’ve been charged with wrongdoing.