Instead of a dry, boring article, the following is an excerpt from a recent interview
with Attorney Leckerman on the subject.
Interviewer: What do the roadblocks look like? Is it literally in the middle-of-the-road, that you will be stopped and the police wave you on or do they just stand there and look at you and, whoever they choose, they put their hand out and say, “Stop?”
Once You Enter the Roadblock, There is No Exit So You Could Avoid Proceeding Through
Leckerman: They will usually set up a roadblock in a way that funnels all the drivers into the roadblock, precluding them from being able to escape it. So, it’s almost like a mousetrap. They’ll set up cones and, once the driver starts to get into the coned area, he has no choice but to keep driving forward.
They’ll have the road signs, typically set up with the information that flashes across them, explaining that a roadblock or checkpoint is ahead and it might even say ‘DWI Checkpoint Ahead.’
According to Constitutional Standards, You Should Have Advance Notice of the Roadblock BEFORE You Enter
They really should, according to the standard set up by the court, have something warning the drivers about this roadblock ahead, prior to being funneled into it, because once you’re into it, what’s the point of the warning that it’s ahead? I mean, once you’re into it, you’re in it, and the warning is pretty much useless.
Now, once you drive into the roadblock, as I mentioned previously, there’s going to be an officer who comes to the vehicle’s driver’s-side window, starts talking to you and then, if there is a suspicion of DWI, he’s going to direct you into a different area, which, typically, is a parking lot of a shopping center or church.
Interviewer: Have you had cases of people turning around and try to go the other way and the police set up some kind of outside man that will watch and nab them anyway?
Leckerman: There used to be police cruisers set up outside the roadblocks, and they would chase after people who avoided the roadblocks. Drivers, who have not committed any motor vehicle violation, but just decided to not get into the roadblock, have challenged that setup in the past.
The question was whether a police officer can just pull somebody over who avoided a roadblock but committed no motor vehicle violations? The courts have determined that a police officer can’t do that.
I personally haven’t seen any cases that actually have dealt with a person was warned that he can’t leave the roadblock, then decided to do it and was pulled over. I think that most of the police departments just abandoned that issue of going after a motorist who legally avoids a roadblock.
If You Have Been Charged with a DWI at a Roadblock Stop, Is That Charge Defensible?
Interviewer: How hard are these cases to defend? Does the roadblock help you defend any easier or does it make it harder? What?