Dysart Willis
24/7 access to a lawyer:
Raleigh 919-741-4825 Henderson 252-776-0069
En Español : 919-747-3276
Arabic : 252-654-4852
English Text
Español Text
Arabic Text
En Español : 919-747-3276
Arabic : 252-654-4852
Free Consultations 24/7 access to a lawyer. We are here WHENEVER you need us. 24/7 access to a lawyer | our locations
919-741-4825 Raleigh 252-776-0069 Henderson

What you should know about DWI checkpoints

Most DWI stops in North Carolina fall into one of two categories: a stop based on probable cause or as part of a DWI checkpoint.

Generally, police officers need to have cause to believe you are breaking the law in some way before they can stop you. However, the law also allows law enforcement to set up checkpoints to catch intoxicated drivers.

Where to expect a checkpoint

Typically, police set up checkpoints at times and places where drunk drivers are likely to pass. This usually means during late-night hours on roads not far from bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

Checkpoints must serve the goal of reducing drunk driving

Police may generally not set up a checkpoint as a way to have an excuse to stop and search vehicles for reasons that do not relate to drunk driving. Thus, a checkpoint set up in a way that does not make sense in the goal to get drunk drivers off the road is cause for looking further into whether the checkpoint was constitutionally valid.

What happens at a checkpoint

The law requires drivers to stop at checkpoints; failing to do so can supply cause for separate charges, regardless of whether the driver was sober. You must also show your identification if police officers request it.

If police officers at the stop believe you may be impaired, they will likely ask you to get out of the car and perform tests. This often means a field sobriety test and/or a breath test. You do not have to consent to these tests, but prosecutors will be able to cite your refusal as evidence against you later on. You should be aware that both of these tests can provide inaccurate results, so do not assume that failing either of them necessarily means a conviction.

Avoiding a checkpoint can land you in trouble

Turning around when you see a checkpoint ahead may not help you avoid a stop. Police will often follow and stop you anyway. Is this a legal stop? Not always - the police must have probable cause for believing you are trying specifically to avoid a checkpoint. Some factors that might support their argument include the driver making a U-turn or other illegal maneuver to turn around, or speeding away from the checkpoint.


Our Results

  • Client was charged in federal court with the felony offense of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. After negotiation with the US Attorney's Office, the felony gun charge was dismissed and our client...

  • Our client was charged with statutory rape and faced mandatory registration as a sex offender if convicted. We were able to work with a forensic expert and the district attorney's office to negotiate a guilty plea..

  • Client charged with Felony Assault on a Police Officer, misdemeanor assault, and resisting an officer. After a jury trial where multiple police officers testified about the incident, our client was found not guilty ..

  • Client investigated by federal law enforcement for possessing child pornography. Ryan began representing the client during the investigation and ultimately the client was not charged with any crimes...

View More
Super Lawyers Board Certified Specialist | North Carolina State Bar | Federal / State Criminal Law
Email Us For A Response

We Can Help! Request A Free Initial Consultation:

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Raleigh Office:
507 N. Blount Street
Raleigh, NC 27604

Toll Free: 800-599-4428
Phone: 919-741-4825
Fax: 919-882-1222
Raleigh Law Office Map

Henderson Office:
1108 Dabney Drive
Henderson, NC 27536

Phone: 252-776-0069
Map & Directions

Statewide Criminal Defense