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Can you turn if you see a DUI checkpoint?

Coming across an unexpected DUI checkpoint on the road can really feel like an unpleasant surprise. Moreover, if you are not prepared to go through such a checkpoint, is there anything you can do to avoid it?

It may surprise you to know, but it is actually entirely legal to avoid a DUI checkpoint rather than going through it. The important part is how you execute this avoidance.

Make sure your turn is legal

LifeSafer discusses how to handle a DUI stop when you begin to approach one. In essence, in the same way that it is legal for officers to set up DUI checkpoints in the first place, it is perfectly legal for drivers to avoid them. In fact, in some states, officers have a legal obligation to not only warn drivers about a DUI checkpoint ahead but also offer an alternative route for those who wish to avoid it.

But this is not common, and more often than not, you will end up caught off guard by these checkpoints. Fortunately, it is legal to avoid them as long as you continue to follow the rules of the road.

In short, a legal U-turn to get away from a checkpoint is fine, but an illegal U-turn is not. Likewise, while you can turn down side streets to avoid a check, you cannot cut off other cars, speed, or drive recklessly.

Do not give officers a reason to pursue

Keep in mind that officers will have an eye out for people turning away from the checkpoint, too. Be sure not to engage in erratic driving, risky behaviors, or anything else that may give them a reason to pursue and pull you over, like having an expired tag or broken taillight.


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