Officers will set up sobriety checkpoints along the highway or other high-traffic roads at times in order to do randomized sobriety checks on the drivers who go through.
However, is this a mandatory process? If you see a sobriety checkpoint up ahead, do you need to go through it? The answer is actually no.
Safely avoiding checkpoints
LifeSafer discusses going through sobriety checkpoints. To many people, this is a stressful situation whether or not a high blood alcohol content level is involved. It is reasonable to want to avoid going through this checkpoint and minimize police contact.
On the plus side, it is perfectly legal and reasonable to avoid a DUI checkpoint. The law does not mandate that drivers must go through. In fact, in some states, officers must provide drivers with an alternate route if they do not wish to proceed through the checkpoint. In other states, a warning that one lies ahead is all that is necessary.
Of course, drivers can make their own alternative routes if one is not provided–if the driver continues to obey traffic laws in seeking to avoid the checkpoint. To that end, it is important to continue abiding by the rules of the road even in this situation. This means a driver should not make unlawful turns, cut off other vehicles, drive aggressively, go over solid lines, drive on the wrong side of the road or anything else.
When officers can pull you over
An officer can and will pull cars over for breaking other traffic laws. They may also keep an eye out for drivers who have broken tail lights or expired plate stickers and may pull them over for that reason, in order to see if they need to run a separate BAC test. Note that — unlike at a legally created sobriety checkpoint — members of law enforcement may not simply expand the investigation of a driver’s potential impairment in a routine traffic stop for one of these alleged traffic violations in the absence of reasonable suspicion of impaired driving developed during the routine traffic stop.