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Can someone turn around to avoid a sobriety checkpoint?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2023 | Drunk Driving Defense

When police officers conduct targeted traffic stops wherein they pull a specific person over for a suspected traffic violation, motorists generally have no choice but to stop. They do have the right to go to a lighted or public location if they fear for their safety, but they may not try to avoid the interaction with the police officer who is attempting to pull them over without running the risk of additional criminal charges.

Many people approaching sobriety checkpoints in New Hampshire might also feel as though they have no options and must proceed through the checkpoint, even if they spot lights before they reach the checkpoint. Although most people would prefer to avoid an unnecessary interaction with the police, they may feel as though preceding forward to the checkpoint is their only choice.

Especially when officers are on the hunt for signs of intoxication, they may see signs of chemical impairment in an individual who is sober and who has a perfectly reasonable explanation for their behavior or driving style. Can New Hampshire motorists intentionally avoid a sobriety checkpoint?

Motorists can perform any legal maneuver prior to reaching the checkpoint

There is no rule that states that motorists aware of a checkpoint ahead of them in traffic must proceed through the checkpoint. If they are able to turn onto another street at an intersection before reaching the checkpoint, they have every right to do so.

In fact, if there is adequate space and no oncoming traffic, it may be legal for someone to perform a U-turn to avoid passing through a sobriety checkpoint or drunk driving roadblock. Of course, officers who see a driver conduct an illegal maneuver, such as a U-turn on a road where it is not legal to change direction like that, might still pull that person over and possibly arrest them.

People who know their options are less likely to panic

Sometimes, the natural anxiety people experience when interacting with authority figures can seem like a sign of guilt or intoxication to a police officer. Additionally, those who don’t know how to handle unusual traffic situations might perform illegal maneuvers at the last minute due to the way the stress affects their decision-making ability. Understanding one’s rights when approaching a sobriety checkpoint could potentially help a motorist stay calm and ultimately avoid drunk driving charges.

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