02/04/2017 If you have ever driven on New Year’s Eve or St. Patrick’s Day, chances are you have seen a DUI checkpoint. You may have even seen one outside a large sporting event, a music concert, or a festival. Police officers set up DUI checkpoints in an effort to deter drunk driving, as well as to stop intoxicated drivers from continuing to drive on the road.
Even sober drivers with nothing to hide from the police sometimes approach DUI checkpoints with a bit of chagrin. After all, it takes vehicles a while to move through these stops. Understandably, you want to be on your way as quickly as possible – something you can’t do if you’re stuck in traffic on what is already probably a busy and congested night. When it comes to DUI checkpoints, you may have wondered whether you have a legal right to get out of line or avoid them altogether. If you see one in the distance, can you take a different route? Can you make a U-turn and go in the opposite direction? The short answer is yes. Like anyone else, you have a legal right to liberty and security of the person. If you can make a lawful turn or a lawful exit that complies with all traffic laws, you have a right to avoid a DUI checkpoint. On the other hand, these rights are not absolute. You can’t make an unlawful maneuver to avoid getting stopped in a DUI checkpoint. A motorist can’t do anything that endangers himself or another driver just to get out of being stopped at a checkpoint. Furthermore, the police also have a right to investigate suspicious activity. If you swerve out of line or suddenly change your route, they might suspect you have something to hide, such as evidence of drunk driving. Because these cases are not always straightforward, it’s important to speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer if you have been charged with drunk driving after avoiding a DUI checkpoint. If the police did not follow the law when they stopped you, it could result in the charges against you being dismissed.