Is it illegal to drive away from a sobriety checkpoint?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2023 | DUI Checkpoints

Most of the time, when a driver is arrested on drunk driving charges, they get pulled over by the police prior to this arrest. Police officers need to have reasonable suspicion to stop a car. They can then make an arrest if they think that a driver is impaired. One exception to this general rule unfolds when the police decide to use sobriety checkpoints. At these checkpoints, all drivers who proceed through them are obligated to stop. The police may only ask them a few questions, but they can also take things further and request sobriety-related testing if they think doing so is warranted.

Some people feel like this is a violation of their rights, and they simply don’t want to go through a checkpoint, whether they’ve been drinking or not. They may decide to turn around and drive away from it so they don’t have to interact with the police. If you decide to do this, are they simply going to arrest you anyway? Or is it legal to drive away?

You must make a legal maneuver

There’s no law prohibiting someone from driving away from a checkpoint. For instance, maybe it’s ahead of you on the road, but you turn down a side street to avoid it. That’s legal. For all the police know, your house is down that side street and that’s where you were going all along. You certainly can drive in a different direction so that you don’t have to go through the checkpoint, at least if you haven’t entered it already.

But it’s very important to make sure that all of your maneuvers are legal if you make an effort to avoid a checkpoint. People sometimes get pulled over for something like making an illegal U-turn. If you commit traffic violations while trying to avoid a checkpoint, then it is very likely that the police are going to pull you over anyway. In fact, this could put you in a far worse situation than if you just drove through the checkpoint to begin with.

Considering your options

Whether you’ve been arrested at a sobriety checkpoint or after a traffic stop, it’s very important that you understand all of the defense options at your disposal. A drunk driving conviction can have a major impact on the rest of your life, and you need to know what steps to take as your case unfolds. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.

National College for DUI Defense | General Member

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