Whether it’s the weekend or a national holiday, police throughout
the country typically set up
DUI checkpoints to arrest drunk drivers and protect other motorists and pedestrians
on the roads. Sobriety checkpoints are legal in Florida and do not violate
the Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.
There are certain guidelines established by the NHTSA for law enforcement
to follow when setting up DUI checkpoints. For instance, the police department
is required to notify the public--whether through the internet or local
newspaper--about the location of checkpoints ahead of time. This gives
motorists the opportunity to avoid the area entirely.
Furthermore, officers must adhere to a specific formula when stopping vehicles.
For example, law enforcement must stop every fourth or fifth vehicle,
instead of stopping every car or drivers at random.
If you encounter a checkpoint, the following is how to handle the situation:
Do not avoid the checkpoint - If you see a checkpoint in the distance, turning around can risk being
pursued by police, especially if you commit a traffic violation doing
so. Police officers mostly consider this type of behavior as a sign of guilt.
Stop if asked - Just because your vehicle is forced to stop, doesn’t mean that
you are going to be arrested. Remain calm and comply with the officer’s orders.
Provide information - Hand over your driver’s license, car registration, and proof of
insurance upon request. Avoid reaching for your glove compartment or wallet
without being asked to do so first. Police may believe you are reaching
for a weapon.
Avoid self-incrimination - If the officer asks if you’ve had anything to drink, answer honestly
if you did not. However, if you’ve had a couple of alcoholic beverages
at some point before driving, you should politely decline to answer the question.
Refuse to take a field sobriety test - If law enforcement believes you may be under the influence of alcohol,
you may be asked to take field sobriety tests. Even if a person is sober,
these tests are still challenging to perform. You can refuse when asked
to take these tests, but it is important to explain that you have the
right to do so.
Refuse to take a breath test - Police may also ask you to take a preliminary breath test. Although
you have the right to refuse this test, doing so may lead to your arrest.
On the other hand, failing the breath test can also result in arrest.
Call a lawyer - If you are arrested for DUI, exercise your right to speak with your attorney
who can help protect your rights.
If you have been arrested at a DUI checkpoint in Florida,
contact our Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney at the
Law Offices of Robert Stepniak today.