Whether you are attending a University of West Virginia football game, going to a concert or catching up with old friends, you may want to have a few beers or a couple of cocktails. Still, you do not want your otherwise fun evening to turn into a legal nightmare. If you drink and drive, though, you may have to defend yourself aggressively to avoid DUI penalties.
In the Mountain State, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. To enforce the state’s DUI laws, police use a variety of tactics, including sobriety checkpoints. Because approaching a checkpoint can be stressful, you may wonder if you can alter your route to avoid a checkpoint altogether.
The notice requirement
DUI checkpoints are more common in populated areas than in rural places, although they can occur anywhere in West Virginia. Nevertheless, to comply with state law, law enforcement officials must publicize checkpoint locations before erecting them. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with watching for public notices and steering clear of areas where checkpoints occur.
When setting up a sobriety roadblock, officers must choose a place near an adjacent street. This gives approaching motorists the opportunity to turn before reaching the checkpoint. Officers must also erect the sobriety roadblock in a place that has an alternate route around it. Doing so allows motorists to circumvent the checkpoint if it is an inconvenience.
Even though the police must allow you to turn on a different road before hitting the roadblock, not all turns are acceptable. If you make a U-turn, for example, officers may pull you over for evading the checkpoint. Furthermore, if you whip around in a parking lot or empty field, you are likely to see flashing lights in your rearview mirror.
Sobriety checkpoints are an effective way to both catch drunk drivers and discourage intoxicated driving. Still, officers have to follow some precise guidelines for roadblocks to be legal. By understanding where DUI checkpoints are likely to occur, you can better plan for avoiding a legal nightmare.