DUI checkpoints are commonplace in WV especially on holidays and important events. Checkpoints serve as a preemptive measure to detect impaired driving before it causes an accident. However, checkpoints can be intimidating, and most people would rather not have to go though one. It is tempting to turn around as soon as you spot the checkpoint, but is it legal to do so?
DUI checkpoints are stationary traffic stops where law enforcement officers stop every driver, they choose in search of any motorist who may be in violation of the law. At these checkpoints, police may ask drivers at random regardless of how well they may be driving at the time.
Police are required to give notice of checkpoints ahead of time and there must be a supervising officer present to ensure that there is no discrimination and that all officers are acing according to procedure. All checkpoints should also be marked clearly with signs and directions. When an officer stops a vehicle, they must have their credentials visible, and the stop must not take too long.
Drivers are supposed to see the checkpoint coming, but what are their options when they do?
Drivers are not required to go through a checkpoint, but it is strongly recommended that no drivers attempt to make a U-turn in the middle of an active one. Motorists can make their way through the checkpoint or avoid it altogether. It is important to note that breaking any traffic rules regardless of the presence of a DUI checkpoint is illegal.
Additionally, drivers should research the location of a checkpoint prior to their departure to ensure that they do not feel pressured to drive illegally or raise suspicions about their sobriety. It is not illegal to take a different route, but it is illegal to break road rules to avoid a checkpoint.
If you have been charged with a DUI in West Virginia, contact The Wagner Law Firm.