Is it Illegal to Evade a DWI Checkpoint?
One question attorneys often get regarding DWI checkpoints is whether or not it is illegal to avoid one. Do you have to go through them?
The answer to this question: no. It is completely legal to evade a DWI checkpoint, as long as you obey all traffic laws while doing so.
For example, if you are driving down the road, see a DWI checkpoint ahead, and decide that you don’t want to go through it, you can turn at the next corner or make a legal U-turn and head back the other way.
This is completely legal, and officers are not allowed stop you simply because you turned away. If they do, your attorney may be able to get any charges that arise dismissed, if it can be proven that the sole reason you were stopped was because you attempted to evade a DWI checkpoint.
However, if you have burned out tail lights or drive recklessly or suspiciously to avoid the checkpoint, you may give the officer’s reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
What commonly happens when someone attempts to avoid a DWI checkpoint is that he or she will make an illegal turn, neglect to use the turn signal, go through a stop sign, or hit the gas and speed around the checkpoint. Any of these things will give the police legal grounds to stop you.
So, if you are going to evade a DWI checkpoint, make sure that you don’t break any laws doing so. Furthermore, make sure that you don’t have tinted windows, and that all of your lights are on and in working order, as these things will increase the chances of being pulled over.
What to Do If You Can’t Avoid a DWI Checkpoint
One of the ways in which the police try to prevent drivers from evading DWI checkpoints is by disguising them as construction zones. When drivers are approaching, all they see are orange cones and construction signs. By the time they realize that they are driving through a DWI checkpoint, there is no way to turn, and it is too late to avoid the stop.
When this happens and you are questioned at the checkpoint, be prepared to provide your name, driver’s license, and registration. You don’t lawfully have to engage in any detailed conversation with the officer, but if you are evasive and try to avoid questions, this may increase your likelihood of being detained for further questioning.
Talk to an Experienced New Mexico DUI/DWI Criminal Defense Attorney
Evading a checkpoint is not illegal nor is it grounds, in and of itself, for the police to pull you over. But, in reality, there is always the chance that an officer may stop you and claim that you committed some traffic violations when trying to avoid the checkpoint. If you decide to evade a DWI checkpoint, do so carefully.
If you have been stopped at a DUI checkpoint in New Mexico and you feel that law enforcement did not comply with the regulations for a lawful checkpoint, or that your blood alcohol content was not over the limit at the time that you were driving, contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today. We will fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced. Contact us online or at ((505) 375-4664 so we can walk you through the process.