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What can a driver do if they spot a DUI roadblock ahead?

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2024 | DUI

Some people get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) allegations because of a car crash. Others get pulled over by a police officer because of something they do while driving. Those one-on-one enforcement efforts can help hold individuals accountable when their intoxication at the wheel puts others at risk.

Police officers in Alabama may also attempt mass enforcement efforts that allow them to arrest dozens of people in just a few hours. DUI roadblocks or sobriety checkpoints give the state an opportunity to screen numerous drivers with limited resources and manpower.

Of course, officers overtly looking for signs of intoxication often jump to conclusions about how people drive. As such, many motorists prefer to avoid the scrutiny and delay triggered by a DUI checkpoint. What can drivers do when approaching a DUI checkpoint in Alabama?

Drivers can attempt to avoid a checkpoint

Police departments often conduct DUI checkpoints at busy locations where they anticipate intercepting numerous drivers. Although many people find checkpoints frustrating, they are theoretically legal. The federal Supreme Court has affirmed their constitutionality, and Alabama police departments routinely announced roadblocks as part of broader enforcement efforts.

If someone spots a checkpoint up ahead while on the road, they can potentially try to avoid it. Drivers could turn onto another street or even conduct a u-turn. Alabama traffic statutes often allow for u-turns unless there is signage specifically prohibiting such maneuvers. A driver rerouting to avoid a checkpoint is a perfectly legal and reasonable decision for someone without the time to stop.

Drivers can make use of their rights

Checkpoints are only legal if Alabama police officers comply with certain standards. Drivers should only be subject to a brief stop for initial screening. Officers need a justification for enhanced screening or a longer interaction with the motorist.

Those stopped at a sobriety checkpoint still have the same rights as anyone else facing law enforcement efforts. Drivers can decline certain types of testing and ask to be on their way if officers don’t have probable cause to justify their requests. Drivers also have the right to remain silent and to secure assistance from a lawyer if an officer decides to arrest them at a checkpoint.

There are many different defense strategies that could work for someone who has been arrested as part of a mass sobriety enforcement undertaking. Ultimately, learning more about Alabama’s traffic laws may benefit those arrested at or worried about sobriety checkpoints alike.