Maryland drivers will likely be seeing a number of DUI checkpoints as they’re out and about through New Year’s Day. If you’ve had a drink or two (or don’t recall how many you consumed), it is understandable to panic when you see one up ahead, even if you don’t feel impaired.
Do you have to comply with directions to proceed to the checkpoint? Can you avoid it?
Generally, as long as you don’t perform an illegal traffic maneuver (such as making a U-turn where it’s forbidden), you can avoid the checkpoint. For example, if you see it far enough ahead or maybe a friend calls to warn you, you can make a legal turn onto another street or take an off-ramp as long as you don’t speed across multiple lanes of traffic, endangering other pedestrians.
Those sorts of illegal traffic maneuvers are not only dangerous, but are likely to attract the attention of the officers at the checkpoint ahead or others nearby. However, if officers find your driving as you near the checkpoint suspicious (perhaps slowing down considerably and then turning around), you could still get your own personal traffic stop.
That’s even more likely if you have a broken taillight, excessive tinting on your windows or some other minor violation that could result in a citation. Be assured that the officer will be looking for signs that you may be driving under the influence while speaking with you.
DUI checkpoints have been determined not to be a violation to our rights to protection from unreasonable search and seizure, as detailed in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
If you find yourself faced with a DUI charge, whether you stopped at a sobriety checkpoint or were pulled over as you tried to avoid it, it’s essential to take the charge — and the potential consequences — seriously. An experienced Maryland DUI attorney can provide important guidance.
Source: FindLaw, “Can You Turn Around at a DUI Checkpoint?,” Daniel Taylor, accessed Dec. 21, 2017