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Where were you arrested? A DUI is a state offense, but each jurisdiction handles them slightly differently.

Can you legally avoid an Arizona DUI checkpoint?

Police lights flash and officers wearing yellow, reflective vests stand in the road to give directions to drivers. Arizona DUI checkpoints are intimidating, making many who go through them feel as though they must prove they are innocent of any crimes.

Because courts have approved the use of the checkpoints, you’ll see the flashing lights and line of cars from time to time across the Phoenix metro area and around the state. According to a website that tracks the operations, law enforcement officials recently conducted a roadside checkpoint in Mesa at the intersection of East Baseline Road and North Gilbert Road to look for drunk drivers and drugged drivers.

There have also been recent checkpoints in Tucson and Kingman. More of the operations can be expected as we get closer to the holidays.

But let’s face it: not everyone is thrilled to have their evening interrupted by police officers. As they approach a checkpoint, some drivers opt to avoid the lights, lines and questions of these roadside operations.

If you conclude you’d rather not go through the checkpoint, remember to be careful not to give officers a reason to pull you over. Don’t make illegal or erratic driving maneuvers to avoid the checkpoint. Doing so can give police a reason to stop you.

In other words, don’t make a U-turn unless you know it’s legal and safe to do so. It is better to enter a side street, if you can, before arriving at the checkpoint.

If the worst happens at a checkpoint and you’re arrested for drunken or drugged driving, remember that legal help is just a phone call away. Politely decline to answer questions about alcohol or marijuana consumption until after you’ve spoken to your attorney.

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