Things cops can’t make you do at DUI checkpoint

As a DUI defense attorney, one question I get from people all the time is, can I refuse a DUI checkpoint? And the answer is if you actually drive up to the front of a checkpoint where the officers are stopping motorists, then you have to stop and roll down your window and provide your license and registration and proof of insurance. But there are several key things that you do not have to do at a DUI checkpoint. First of all, you do not have to answer any questions about where you’re coming from, or whether you’ve been drinking, or how much you drank.

Secondly, you do not have to perform the field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand test or the walk and turn test. Thirdly, you do not have to take the pre-arrest handheld breathalyzer called the PAS test, that is, unless you are on DUI probation or you’re under 21. Moreover, the police cannot even order you out of your vehicle unless they have reason to believe that you’ve been drinking. But the key thing that most people don’t realize is that you can turn around before you get to the checkpoint. There’s no law that says that it’s illegal to turn around in order to avoid a DUI checkpoint. And in fact, doing so does not give the police probable cause to detain you, as long as you don’t commit any traffic violations in the course of turning around, such as an illegal U-turn or failure to signal. And in fact, I turn around before I reach DUI checkpoints all the time, not because I’ve been drinking, but because I don’t want to sit in that line. So the upshot is this. If you’re approaching a DUI checkpoint and you have been drinking and you have the opportunity to turn around and go the other way legally and safely, then you should do so.

But if you do get detained, remember that you don’t have to do anything other than provide your identification.