Is It Lawful To Turn Around At A Texas DWI Checkpoint?

Is It Lawful To Turn Around At A Texas DWI Checkpoint?
Mar 28, 2023 |

DWI checkpoints are common in Texas, especially around local events and holidays. They’re designed to catch drunk drivers in the act so police officers can remove them from the road. Unfortunately, the tests they use aren’t exactly reliable. You can be completely sober and still be arrested for a DWI if the tests fail.

What happens if you just turn around before you get to the checkpoint? Is it legal? We answer these questions below.

No, It’s Not Illegal To Turn Around

Texas doesn’t make DWI checkpoints mandatory. Drivers are allowed to leave the area before they get to the checkpoint if they don’t want to participate. Police are not legally permitted to follow someone or pull them over just for turning around before reaching a checkpoint.

That said, it’s important not to break any traffic laws that could give police a lawful reason to stop your vehicle.


You don’t want to be visible or arouse suspicion when turning around. Make sure you’re discreet when leaving the checkpoint. Since police can choose from dozens of other reasons to stop you, it’s better not to show up on their radar. You definitely don’t want to give them a good reason to pull you over after avoiding a DWI stop.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Obey traffic signals. Don’t make an illegal U-turn or speed away from the checkpoint. Look for signs that let you know what you can and can’t do to get out of the situation.
  • Have a good excuse ready. Even though you’re allowed to turn around, you might want to have another reason besides not wanting to go through the checkpoint. You can say you’ve forgotten something important and need to go back for it or even that you passed a new store that you decided to stop by at the last minute. You can also exercise your right to remain silent and decline answering any questions about where you were going or what you’re doing.
  • Turn around quickly. If you see a checkpoint ahead, take a side road or turn around as soon as possible. Don’t leave when you get too close to the stop – this can make what you’re doing more obvious.

Segura & Kiatta Criminal Defense can provide you with comprehensive legal representation after a DWI checkpoint arrest. Call now at 281.570.6400 for more info.

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