The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that DUI checkpoints, also called "sobriety roadblocks," are legal and minimally invasive. Of course, for a motorist who is late for a meeting or eager to get home, the inconvenience is subjective. Fortunately, there are ways to find out if there are DUI checkpoints in your area so that you can avoid them.
Watch the news every morning and evening for announcements of DUI checkpoints. Law enforcement agencies are required to disclose the location of sobriety roadblocks before the event, so news stations will often report them for your convenience.
Read the daily newspaper for your city or town. There might be a section in the local section dedicated to DUI checkpoints, or they could be in another section altogether. You can also look for them under alternative names, such as "DWI Checkpoints" or "DWI Roadblocks."
Visit websites that are dedicated to informing the public about DUI checkpoints, such as the Road Block Registry (see Resources). These websites will give you notice of sobriety roadblocks, including the intersection at which they will be conducted, the date and the time.
Call your local law enforcement agency to find out when upcoming DUI checkpoints are scheduled. They may or may not release this information, and they may have no plans for sobriety roadblocks, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
Look for lots of flashing police car lights when you are driving between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. These are the hours during which officers are most likely to set up DUI checkpoints because the bars are open and most people are not at work.
- Some DUI checkpoints check only every other car or every third car to make sure it takes as little time as possible.
- You don't have to answer any questions at a sobriety roadblock, regardless of what you might be doing or where you are going.
- Have your driver's license, registration and insurance identification card ready when you approach a DUI checkpoint. This will make the process go much faster.
- Remember that you can use any legally viable maneuver to avoid a DUI checkpoint. For example, if U-turns are allowed, you can perform one and head in the other direction.
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