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Can you drive away from a sobriety checkpoint?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Encountering a sobriety checkpoint on the road can be stressful, even if you have not done anything wrong. In some cases, it is possible to avoid these checkpoints by changing your route.

It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities around sobriety checkpoints so that you can make informed choices on the road.

What are sobriety checkpoints?

Sobriety checkpoints are police operations that temporarily stop drivers at specific locations to check for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. These checkpoints catch impaired drivers before they cause accidents to prevent drunk driving. The police typically announce the location and time of these checkpoints in advance, aiming to deter individuals from driving under the influence.

Sobriety checkpoints are a deterrent against drunk driving and a method for law enforcement to interact directly with drivers to assess their sobriety. However, they are also controversial because all drivers must stop, even when there is no reasonable suspicion toward them.

Can you drive away?

In Kentucky, you have the legal right to avoid a sobriety checkpoint by turning onto a different road. Despite its legality, turning away from a checkpoint may attract attention from law enforcement.

Officers might interpret this action as a desire to avoid police interaction, which could prompt them to observe your driving more closely. They may look for a minor traffic violation, such as expired registration tags or malfunctioning lights, as a reason to conduct a stop.

If you take an illegal action to turn away, such as an illicit U-turn, the police are likely to pull you over. By contrast, taking a legal turn down a side street is less risky.

Choosing to avoid a sobriety checkpoint in Kentucky is within your rights, but it requires careful consideration. The act itself is not illegal, but a heightened awareness of traffic laws and vehicle maintenance can help you avoid unintended consequences.