Should You “U-Turn” at a DUI Checkpoint?

U-turn or DUI Checkpoint?For the majority of drivers on the road, DUI or sobriety checkpoints are just a hassle on the way home at night. For others, a DUI checkpoint can be seen as something to try to get around, whether for “civil rights” reasons, or, because they had a few too many drinks before heading home for the night. In any case, it is not all that uncommon to have a “knee-jerk” reaction when realizing there is a DUI checkpoint ahead, including trying to turn around or make a U-turn before the police can even see you. But, will that U-turn lead you into more of a hassle than just going through the motions of sober driving?

Perhaps, depending on your state, your U-turn style and other traffic-related factors. For instance:

  • In Virginia, you can only make a U-turn in an intersection (unless there are signs that indicate otherwise)
  • In California, a U-turn cannot include crossing the double yellow lines.
  • In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, U-turns are illegal everywhere.

If you see a DUI checkpoint and decide you would rather take your chances by driving another way, you will likely be under scrutiny by law enforcement. That U-turn is usually is not enough for an officer to stop you, unless you are demonstrating other behaviors that could indicate you are intoxicated behind the wheel. If you are driving erratically, or break any traffic rules during your U-turn (illegal turns, crossing the double yellow lines, etc.), law enforcement has probable cause to pull you over for those issues. If, during the traffic stop, you appear intoxicated, sobriety tests will likely follow… and if you are driving while intoxicated, you will find yourself headed straight for a DWI/DUI conviction, and the possibility of an ignition interlock device, community service and/or substance abuse treatment, as well.

Avoiding the hassle at a DUI checkpoint means that you take the initiative when driving to always remain sober. A U-turn will not keep you out of trouble if you have been drinking, and you could find yourself in a full tailspin of legal issues that are much easier avoided by just calling a taxi or a sober friend for a ride home.

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