A DUI checkpoint (which is often called a “sobriety” checkpoint), is essentially just a roadblock that obliges drivers to stop. There, the police will usually chat with a driver to try to determine if they might be impaired. If the officer suspects a driver is impaired, they’ll usually perform more tests — such as field sobriety tests — to confirm their suspicions.
These stops are controversial. It is generally acknowledged that police officers cannot stop a car without reason, but checkpoints stop every single car, regardless of any reason. Even so, courts have ruled that this constitutes a legal search in many states — including Illinois.
Couldn’t you just take another road?
Now, if you see a checkpoint, you may have no desire to stop — even if you’re completely sober. Couldn’t you just take another road or turn around and drive the other direction to avoid the checkpoint?
If you haven’t yet reached the checkpoint and have not been given any instructions by officers — which you need to follow — then there is nothing illegal about turning down a different road. Maybe you live down that road and it’s where you were headed all along. There’s no way for the police to know.
However, that doesn’t mean that the authorities will necessarily leave you alone. They may still view your actions as suspicious. If you break even the smallest traffic law, such as making an illegal U-turn, they can use that as a reason to pull your car over. So, if you attempt to avoid the checkpoint, make sure you do it very carefully.
Are you facing drunk driving charges?
If you do end up facing drunk driving charges after a checkpoint or a traffic stop, then it’s time to shift your focus to your legal defense options. An attorney can help you assess your options and possible defenses while protecting your rights.