How Do DUI Checkpoints Work?
In almost every city and town, law enforcement officers will sometimes set up DUI checkpoints. Also known as sobriety checkpoints, this law enforcement activity is most common during the summer and annual holidays like New Year’s Eve, July 4th, Labor Day and so on. The reason is that during this time period the public is more likely to drink and drive.
The aim of a DUI checkpoint is to investigate and assess motorists on the road for drunk driving. The majority of the DUI checkpoints are set-up on public roads which also give law enforcement a chance to check license plates, registration or sometimes may also get a whiff of alcohol on the breath of the driver.
How Are DUI Checkpoints Set Up?
In most cases, the police department will make a vague announcement in the media that they will be setting up DUI checkpoints in the city, but they will often not give the location or the time. They will also state that the DUI checkpoints will last for a set number of days. Despite this warning, a fair number of drunk drivers are typically arrested at DUI checkpoints. For law enforcement, the decision where to set up the DUI check-point and what time is determined by the traffic, type of event (eg music festival, sporting event, annual holiday, long weekend, etc.), and whether they have previously arrested DUI suspects at these locations. In the majority of cases, DUI checkpoints tend to be over the weekend and at night between the hours, 11pm through 2am; a time when people get drink and go home.
Who Gets Stopped At DUI Checkpoints?
Law enforcement officers will take time to either speak to the driver or quickly glance in the car and if anything arises suspicion, then the car is pulled over. In some cases, law enforcement will pull over a random number, like every 5th car.
Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?
In every state in the nation, State courts have approved DUI checkpoints as it helps law enforcement nab drunk drivers. The one major requirement is that the police are asked to state the day when the checkpoints will be carried out. This does not mean they have to tell the public the location or the time.
What Rights Do Motorists Have When Stopped At A DUI Checkpoint?
Sadly many motorists have little idea about their constitutional rights when stopped at a DUI checkpoint. The law enforcement at the site has the power to stop all vehicles and briefly assess you for drunk driving. However, as a motorist, your obligations are only to cooperate. You do not have to answer any other question or admit to what the law enforcement is stating- but you must cooperate. Do not confess to anything or say anything that can be incriminating. Failure to cooperate can lead to an immediate arrest.
What Happens At A DUI Checkpoint?
Once you have been asked to pull over at a DUI checkpoint, you must pull over to the side. You will be asked to roll down your window so that the officer can speak to you. You will be asked to provide your license, car registration and insurance papers. Other questions may include where you are going or coming from. If it seems that you are going home from work, then in most cases, you will be allowed to go. Most officers are trained to spot mental impairment from the brief interaction with you through the window. If there reasonable suspicion that you have been drinking, then the officer will conduct formal sobriety tests. In addition, the officer will also conduct a background check on you for outstanding warrants.
What Do Law Enforcement Officers Look For At DUI Checkpoints?
The law enrolment officer will usually look for the following signs of impairment:
– Bloodshot eyes
– Flushed face
– Lack of coordination of fumbling while looking for your car papers
– Slurred speech
– Smell of alcohol
What Type Of Sobriety Tests Are Done At DUI Check Points?
If you are suspected of being drunk at a DUI checkpoint, you’ll be asked to step out the car for sobriety tests which include the following:
– Standing on one leg to check for balance
– Walking in a straight line (heel to toe) and then turning around
– Touching your nose with your finger to assess your coordination and muscle movement
– Reciting the alphabet or counting numbers to check for concentration
If you fail these tests, then chances are that you will be arrested on the spot. The officer may then also get a search warrant to check your vehicle, which is legal.
Because of the Implied Consent Rule, you will be asked to take a test to check for the presence of alcohol in your blood. The most common test is the breathalyzer, which takes a few minutes. If the breathalyzer test is not available, you will be taken to the police station where your blood or urine will be obtained to assess the concentration of alcohol. In Florida, if the blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or more, you will be charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence.
When Should I Contact A Florida DUI Lawyer?
As soon as you have been charged with driving under the influence, you will need assistance from an experienced DUI lawyer to get you out of jail and help win or get your charges reduced in court. Remember, once you have been charged with drunk driving in Florida, your driving license will be suspended and you will not be allowed to drive until the outcome of your case is decided. Contact Frost Law for a free DUI consultation and review of your case at (407) 670-5569.