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Is it Legal to Avoid a DUI Checkpoint in Ohio?



    Columbus Police operated two DUI checkpoints last night: One at N. High St. at McMillen Ave. from 9 to 11 p.m., and the second at N. High St. at E. Tompkins St. from 1 to 3 a.m.

    A certain OSU Buckeye starting quarterback was pulled over and subsequently arrested for OVI after trying to avoid one of the checkpoints.

    Inquiring minds around Columbus want to know:

    Can you get pulled over for avoiding a DUI / OVI checkpoint?

    Is turning around to avoid the checkpoint illegal?

    The answer, as is often in the law, is: it depends.

    IF you can turn around legally, then you are within your rights to turn around. The police generally can only pull you over if they have reasonable suspicion to believe you have committed a traffic offense or some other criminal act.

    In the City of Columbus, for example, U-turns are generally prohibited unless specifically permitted by a sign.  So, making an illegal U-turn would be a traffic violation that could support a stop by police.

    Most OVI checkpoints are conveniently located in places that do not allow U-Turns or where it is difficult to turn around legally to avoid the checkpoint.

    Further, if an officer sees you turn around (legally) to avoid the checkpoint, he might become suspicious and follow you to see if you are weaving or committing other traffic violations.   If he observes you committing even a minor traffic violation (e.g. failure to signal, etc.), the officer can pull you over to investigate further.