If you’re approaching slowed traffic and realize it is a sobriety checkpoint, do you know if you can or cannot get out of line? Most people would think that they’d be able to turn around and drive away without consequence, but the reality is that trying to get out of line could end up triggering a traffic stop. Why? To do so, you might have to perform an illegal traffic maneuver and will draw attention to yourself.
For example, if the sobriety checkpoint is set up on a street that says “No U-turns” and you get out of line to turn around, an officer standing by may stop you for committing a traffic offense. They may question why you left the line, though you don’t need to give any answer that could incriminate you.
Are you able to leave a sobriety checkpoint line legally?
Yes. There is no reason why you should not be able to leave the sobriety checkpoint line if you can make a legal move to do so. For example, if you can make a left turn to go down a side street to your home, then there’s no reason that you should not be able to do that.
The police are not allowed to dictate the route you drive. There is nothing illegal about turning around or making a turn so long as you do so without violating any traffic laws.
That said, driving away could end up leading to a traffic stop. If you draw attention to yourself, it’s possible that an officer could follow you to see if you make any mistakes or to try to determine if you are impaired and attempting to avoid suspicion.
Understand sobriety checkpoints and the rights you maintain
It’s important to know these realities, because understanding the law and what you can or cannot do (as well as how the police may respond) could help you avoid trouble if a sobriety checkpoint is posted on your route. If you run into trouble, remember to take time to look into your rights and the laws that may apply to your case.