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Is It Legal to Avoid a DUI Checkpoint in Pennsylvania?

You’ve gone out for the night, either to a friend’s house or to a local drinking establishment, and now you’re on your way home. You drive up toward an intersection and see signs, flashing lights, stopped cars, and officers walking around. You’ve pulled up to a DUI checkpoint. So, what are your options?

As a team of experts in DUI law near Bucks County, Kalray Law knows that people believe they have to go through a checkpoint simply because it’s there. If they turn around, that would look guilty, right? Well, the truth is, you’re not legally required to travel through a DUI checkpoint. Check out this video on what you need to know, and continue reading to learn more about how Kalray Law can help individuals charged with a DUI.

Can I Just Turn Around?

Once you see the DUI checkpoint, you can turn around to avoid it if you can do so safely. While you are certainly allowed to do this, police see this maneuver often. If you have time and room to turn down a side street or even make a completely legal U-turn, you can get home without incident. However, there’s a chance you may draw attention to yourself and get pulled over for avoiding the checkpoint under the suspicion of driving under the influence. It will only be worse if you violate traffic laws in the process.

Okay, I’m Going Through the Checkpoint. What Are My Rights?

Here’s the bottom line: DUI checkpoints are legally protected under the 4th amendment, which outlines reasonable search and seizure. 

By the time an officer signals you to move toward the line of cars waiting to go through the checkpoint, you should comply since it is considered a lawful order by the police. Police may try to circumvent the issue of probable cause by asking for your permission for a search. They may not necessarily phrase their request in a fashion that makes it clear you can refuse, but in reality, you can and should refuse.

Even when you go through the checkpoint, your constitutional rights still apply. You’re not required to consent to a search or to answer any incriminating questions. The only thing you have to provide is your identification and basic facts. While the police may try to make it seem like you have no choice but to submit to testing, that’s not necessarily the case.

So, What Exactly Should I Do?

It’s crucial to understand that while a DUI checkpoint is simply a safety precaution and has no “special” legal protection outside of a regular traffic stop, avoiding it in an obvious or otherwise suspect display may result in being pulled over, fines, or worse.

All in all, it is always best to never drive under the influence. But as trusted car accident lawyers near Montgomery County, PA, Kalray Law understands that everyone is entitled to proper legal representation. If you or someone you know has received a DUI, contact us today.