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Is It Legal to Turn Around to Avoid A DWI Checkpoint?

Avoiding a DWI Checkpoint – Is It Legal Or Illegal?

If you have driven while intoxicated before or have anxiety about getting tested, you may be wondering: is it legal to turn around to avoid a DWI checkpoint? As you are probably aware, drunk driving is a serious felony in the United States, and while the laws vary by state, there are always consequences if you get pulled over. In that case, is it okay to turn around? This article will answer your question, as well as provide more information on the topic. You can also check out our DWI ebook to learn more about this topic!

The Short Answer: Is It Legal Or Not

To cut right to the chase, yes, it is legal to turn around to avoid a DUI/DWI checkpoint. However, you should be warned about the possible consequences of turning around, why the police put it there in the first place, and what repercussions you should take before pulling that stunt. 

Is It Legal To Turn Around To Avoid A DWI Checkpoint?

What is a DUI/DWI Checkpoint?

Some of you may not have even been aware that these checkpoints existed in the first place. Police sometimes set these up to randomly check drivers for any signs of intoxication. The drivers pass through the checkpoint, and the police run a quick BAC (blood alcohol content) test on anyone they choose. It is required by law for police to give notice in advance, so you should see signs clearly marking the checkpoint, along with directions.

Why Turn Around?

There are several reasons why someone might try to avoid passing through a DWI checkpoint. While those stops are there to catch those who are illegally driving while drunk, it can cause anxiety for drivers who have only had a little to drink or even no alcohol at all. And with the state of Utah having the lowest tolerance for BAC in the United States (as little as 0.05% can lead to an arrest), just having one or two drinks beforehand could get you into trouble. In which case, it’s very reasonable to want to avoid driving through one of these.

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How to Legally Turn Around

In most states, it is illegal to make a u-turn, which should be avoided in any case to avoid the risk of endangering yourself and other drivers. To safely (and legally) avoid a DWI checkpoint, exit the street or freeway by taking an exit ramp or side road before reaching the place where the stop is set up. Do not speed through the checkpoint to try to get past it, as doing so will definitely get you pulled over.

If you decide to proceed with caution through the checkpoint, please keep in mind that drivers who pass through are either selected at random or due to reasonable suspicion by the officer on duty. 

PRO TIP: Learn more about the minimum jail time for first offense DWI in our post.

What Might Happen if You Avoid the DWI Checkpoint

While it is perfectly legal for a driver to deliberately avoid a DUI/DWI checkpoint, it could still cause suspicion. Usually, a law enforcement officer will not pursue you if you turn to avoid one of these stops, but if they notice you driving erratically to avoid them, it can raise the suspicion that you expected to fail their test, which might make them decide to track you down. 

If you try to avoid the DWI test, do not attempt any of the following:

  • Speeding through
  • Swerving around
  • Driving suspiciously slow
  • Aggressive driving
  • Straddling over the divider lines between lanes
  • Making an illegal u-turn
  • Suddenly jerking to turn or exit

Other Reasons an Officer Might Pursue You

Even if you drive safely with no suspicious actions, whether by avoiding the checkpoint or driving through it, the police might still pursue you for certain reasons. While drivers who pass through are either chosen at random or under reasonable suspicion, these factors may also lead to a pursuance for a DWI check:

  • Broken headlight or taillight
  • Missing license plate
  • Something obstructing your view through the windshield or rear window
  • Other violations

PRO TIP: Learn more about juvenile DUI in Louisiana in this post or give Carl Barkemeyer a call today!

Conclusion: Is It Legal to Turn Around to Avoid a DWI Checkpoint?

In short, yes, it is legal to avoid a DUI/DWI checkpoint. However, after reading this article, you should now understand the conditions circling around the legality of avoiding one of these, what not to do, and how to legally and safely turn around. You should also understand why police set up these points in the first place and why they may choose to pursue you at random or under reasonable suspicion. If you are intoxicated, please avoid driving at all costs, to prevent endangering yourself and others or potentially leading yourself to an arrest. 

Even if you aren’t driving under the influence, you may have your own understandable reasons to avoid passing through one of these checkpoints. It is in your legal right to do so, but please keep in mind what was said here to avoid arousing suspicion. This article should have given you a comprehensive answer to your question: is it legal to turn around to avoid a DWI checkpoint or not, and you should know what to do to safely get out of going through one.


Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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