January 6, 2015
In Florida, as with many states, the police use DUI or sobriety checkpoints as a way of cracking down on drinking and driving. In these checkpoints, officers block off the road with police vehicles, signs, warning lights and traffic cones to funnel traffic into a single line to allow them to check for drivers who are under the influence.
These roadblocks or checkpoints are usually set up during times of the year when there is statistically more drinking and driving going on. This is generally late at night, early in the morning, weekends, holidays and during big events.
The Legality of DUI Checkpoints
Many people still argue over the ethics of DUI checkpoints. The 4th Amendment of the Constitution protects citizens against being stopped without probable cause or without a search warrant; therefore many people find these DUI checkpoints to be unconstitutional, but the U.S. Supreme Court says otherwise.
In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints were not a violation of the 4th Amendment. Since then, the majority of the states, including Florida, regularly conduct DUI checkpoints. As long as the checks are conducted properly and according to the exact plan which law enforcement submits to the State Attorney’s Office prior to the checkpoint, they do not violate a citizen’s 4th Amendment right. In addition, citizens must be placed on notice prior to a checkpoint occurring. This is often done through a press release or newspaper advertisement by law enforcement.
What to Expect at A DUI Checkpoint
Before you reach a DUI checkpoint, you will most likely be able to see it. Officers will block off the road with cones and put up advisory signs to let drivers know to reduce their speed. Generally, cars will be directed to form a line where they will wait to see an officer.
The driver of each vehicle will have to present their driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration. During this time, the officer may ask you questions about where you have been that night, where you are headed, etc. The officer is looking for signs of impairment. These signs may include:
- The smell of alcohol or illegal substances
- Slurred speech
- Erratic movements or actions
- Bloodshot eyes
If the officer does not notice any of these signs of impairment, then the driver will be sent on their way. However, if the officer believes that the driver is under the influence of a mind-altering substance, they will then conduct a field sobriety test. If this test is failed, the driver will be put under arrest under suspicion of DUI, and will be asked to submit to a breath test. The individual will be detained, and then transported to jail for booking and their vehicle will most likely be impounded.
A DUI Could Change Your Life
If you have been charged with a DUI, do not wait and call the Khonsari Law Group at once. It is vital that you hire an aggressive and dedicated criminal defense attorney. At KLG, we will fight vigorously to defend your case and your freedom. Contact us today for a free consultation.