DUI roadblocks are increasingly coming under fire as being constitutionally dubious, although the US Supreme Court rules years ago that DUI checkpoints or roadblocks are constitutional. Since that time, 12 states have ruled that DUI checkpoints are unconstitutional according to their state constitutions (In Florida, DUI roadblocks are still legal).
Now, many police officers will pull over any driver who they think is avoiding a DUI roadblock. But does turning around legally a few hundred yards before a checkpoint, or just turning down a side street and then turning around, constitute reasonable suspicion of intoxication? In most cases, courts have found that this behavior does not constitute reasonable suspicion. Avoidance does not mean you are legally intoxicated.
However, in South Dakota, the supreme court has decided that if you turn around ‘widely’ enough, even if it is legal, you are then sufficiently suspicious to be pulled over for drunk driving.
In the case, the driver avoided a DUI checkpoint by turning down a gravel road before the road block ahead. The police observed the driver simply make a wide turn, and did not do anything illegal. They then pulled him over and arrested him for drunk driving.
The supreme court in South Dakota stated that although avoidance was not enough of a factor for him to be pulled over, there were other factors involved. They stated that the time of day – late at night – created suspicion. Also, they stated that a ‘wide turn,’ while not against the law, might be enough to ‘engender reasonable suspicion.’
In this case, the driver’s conviction for driving drunk was upheld. While it might seem quite a stretch to conclude that a legal ‘wide turn’ provides law enforcement with reasonable suspicion, in South Dakota, apparently, it does.
- Does Avoiding a DUI Roadblock Constitute Reasonable Suspicion?
- The Constitutional Question of DUI Roadblocks
- Pasco County DUI Tips – What Not to Do
- Florida Mandatory Adjudication and What It Means For You
- Special Female Defenses for DUI