Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in every state, both on a state and federal level. However, how law enforcement teams are able to check and detain drunk drivers is regulated by state and constitutional law. DUI checkpoints are one way to potentially remove a large number of intoxicated drivers from the roads at one time, however, many people question their legality in relation to DUI Criminal Charges.
Here’s what you need to know about DUI roadblocks and your rights if you’re arrested at one.
Florida DUI Checkpoints Explained
A DUI checkpoint or DUI roadblock occurs when police select a predetermined part of the roadway to randomly stop cars and evaluate drivers for signs of intoxication. Typically, this is done during busy holidays like Labor Day and Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July, and any local activities where more people will be out on the roads. The latter are popular days of the year where law enforcement may be more likely to make DUI Arrests.
What the Supreme Court Says About DUI Checkpoints
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that a police officer may only pull your vehicle over if they have reason to believe you’re breaking the law, also known as “probable cause.” Since many of the people going through a DUI checkpoint have not broken the law in any way, this leaves some confusion about whether or not DUI checkpoints violate constitutional rights. The Supreme Court has ruled that temporary DUI roadblocks do not violate fourth amendment rights and that the benefit of getting more drunk drivers off the road outweighs the inconvenience of having to go through a DUI checkpoint when you’ve done nothing wrong.
However, some states do consider DUI checkpoints illegal, so it’s always important to review the laws in your specific state.
DUI Checkpoints Under Florida State Law
In the State of Florida, DUI checkpoints are allowed under 483 So.2d 433 (Fla. 1985). Under this law, DUI checkpoint locations must chosen at random. Brief interviews are conducted, after which suspected intoxicated drivers are removed from the queue for additional testing, potentially including breathalyzer and field sobriety testing.
What to Do If You’ve Been Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint
If you’ve been arrested at a DUI checkpoint, you should be taken into custody and booked as though the officer made a traditional DUI stop. You may be asked questions and asked to submit to additional testing, but you have the right to remain silent and request the presence of an attorney. Don’t hesitate to reach out for legal advocacy — call T. Martin Knopes now for a consultation at (850) 683-0700.