Variety checkpoints are a powerful tool utilized by South Carolina law enforcement professionals to detect and deter impaired driving. Drivers who move through a sobriety checkpoint or drunk driving roadblock will need to briefly interact with law enforcement officers for screening purposes. If an officer suspects that someone may be under the influence, they may ask them to pull aside for additional screening.
A surprise encounter with a sobriety checkpoint in South Carolina might lead to driving under the influence (DUI) charges. Can you intentionally avoid a sobriety checkpoint when you notice one ahead of you on the road?
You have the option of driving where you want
Police officers planning sobriety checkpoints often place them at areas associated with drunk driving or crashes, but they also tend to choose areas where people won’t have much advance notice when approaching the checkpoint.
In theory, you can conduct any legal maneuver of your vehicle to avoid a sobriety checkpoint ahead of you in traffic. You could turn down a different street or go back the way you came. Provided that you do not engage in illegal maneuvers, simply attempting to avoid the checkpoint won’t be a violation of the law that justifies an arrest.
However, police officers often watch for those who reroute their vehicles. They may communicate with other officers in vehicles nearby and have those officers conduct a one-on-one traffic stop because of your efforts to avoid the checkpoint.
Checkpoints leave opportunities for your defense
A sobriety checkpoint has to have certain paperwork in place to be legal. The officers and police departments conducting the checkpoints also need to follow the appropriate process when stopping vehicles or screening drivers for impairment.
Mistakes in that paperwork or in the arrest process could give you grounds for a defense strategy. Even if there are no technical issues with the sobriety checkpoint, you may be able to challenge the accuracy of the breath test instead. There are numerous defense strategies that can work for those accused of impaired driving.
Learning more about your rights as a driver in South Carolina can help you avoid or better manage DUI charges related to a DUI checkpoint.