Approaching a surprise DUI checkpoint can certainly surprise drivers in an unpleasant way. For various reasons, a driver may want to avoid going through the checkpoint if possible. But is this illegal?
Fortunately, simply avoiding a DUI checkpoint is not illegal. However, it is more complex than you may expect.
Turning away without drawing attention
LifeSafer talks about the appropriate ways to interact with DUI checkpoints. First, drivers should always know their rights. In the same way that it is legal for an officer to set up a DUI checkpoint without warning, it is legal for drivers to avoid the checkpoint.
However, an officer monitoring a DUI checkpoint will almost surely keep an eye out for behavior they deem suspicious. Turning away from a checkpoint would certainly count as strange and noteworthy behavior for many people.
How an officer can still pull you over
If a driver grabs their attention by turning away, the officer may look out for things they can use to pull said driver over. This includes any form of illegal driving behaviors, such as reckless driving, speeding, making illegal turns or U-turns, hitting other cars, cutting cars off, or driving over the lines.
They can even decide to pull a driver over for lesser infractions, such as driving with expired plate stickers or driving with a broken tail light. From there, if they have reason to believe a driver hit the road intoxicated, they can launch a BAC test as usual.
In short: a driver should not make an attempt at turning away from a DUI checkpoint if they will do anything illegal that might catch an officer’s attention, or if something with their car could end up getting them pulled over.