Have you heard of, or seen a DUI (sobriety) checkpoint before? “Sobriety checkpoints (also called DUI checkpoints) are locations where law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment,” according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Most states incorporate DUI checkpoints as part of their anti-drinking and driving campaigns.
DUI checkpoints are not legal in all states. Here in Florida, DUI checkpoints are legal and they are upheld under the federal Constitution. DUI or sobriety checkpoints are also conducted in the neighboring states of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. However, if you were to be driving in Texas or Iowa, they’re not legal in those states.
According to the GHSA, 37 states conduct DUI checkpoints, but the remaining states do not conduct them. That said, read as I address common questions about DUI checkpoints.
FAQs About DUI Checkpoints
Here are three frequently asked questions I get about DUI checkpoints:
1. Can I keep on driving through a checkpoint?
Since DUI checkpoints are legal in Florida, the short answer is “no.” You cannot refuse to stop at a DUI checkpoint and just drive on through. If you approach a sobriety checkpoint, you must follow the officers’ instructions. Either they’ll waive you on through, or they’ll ask you to stop and they’ll ask you a series of questions. If you simply drive on through and you’re told to stop, you can reasonably expect a police car to be hot on your trail.
2. Can I turn away from a checkpoint?
You can try, but much like blowing through a DUI checkpoint, you won’t get very far. If you approach a DUI checkpoint and you make a U-turn, expect the officers to send a “chase car” after you. I do not recommend turning away from a DUI checkpoint because it will never turn out well. If you try to turn around, the officers will automatically think you’re hiding something and the will most likely send an officer to track you down.
3. Can I refuse to talk to the officers?
I do not recommend keeping your window rolled up, nor do I recommend giving the officers a blank stare as you refuse to speak – this will only anger them. My advice is to roll your window down, hand over your license and registration if asked to, and be polite to the officers. Any erratic behavior will instantly be a red flag to the officers and will attract unwanted attention.
Related: What Are the Common DUI Mistakes?