DUI checkpoints are legal under United States law. While there are constitutional standards for searches and seizures which limit the conduct of law enforcement, DUI checkpoints have been determined by the Supreme Court to be a legal procedure. Many DUI checkpoints do not pull over every vehicle, but rather every two or three vehicles to check for sobriety. The random selection is part of what makes them legal. Even though the Supreme Court has declared DUI checkpoints to be legal, several states do not permit them due to conflict with individual state constitutions.
Avoiding DUI Checkpoints
If you do a little research, you can usually find out in advance where DUI checkpoints are set up in your town. The local newspaper or news station often informs the public of these in advance. Law enforcement agencies are required by law to disclose the location of upcoming DUI checkpoints. In many areas, there are now websites dedicated to informing the public about local checkpoints that will be happening. They will inform you of the time of day and the location.
Most checkpoints are set up from around 9 at night till 2 in the morning. If you see flashing red lights in an area, it is likely a DUI checkpoint at that time of the evening. It is perfectly legal to avoid these situations by taking an alternate route if you are uncomfortable about driving through them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has established standards for DUI checkpoints on a state and national level to ensure that officials do not overstep the law.
If you do get pulled over at a checkpoint, you should make your driver's license, registration and proof of auto insurance ready. It is a good idea to keep your registration and insurance paperwork in easy reach for any kind of law enforcement interaction.
Getting Legal Help
If you have recently been pulled over at a DUI checkpoint and are facing criminal charges as a result, an attorney in your vicinity who handles criminal law and procedural cases can assist you in asserting your rights. You will need an attorney to advocate for you before trial, in settlement conferences and should your case go to trial. Having a criminal record can limit your future options, so make sure to seek help at the outset of your case.