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Debate Sparked Over Legality of DUI Checkpoints

When a South Florida lawyer put officers to the test at a DUI checkpoint by keeping his windows rolled up and presenting a sign that said he wished to remain silent and declined any searches, they allowed him to pass through without any trouble. He did place his license and registration on the glass of the window for the officers to see, but other than that, he essentially did not comply with the checkpoint.

This has sparked further debate over whether or not these DUI checkpoints are really legal or not. While many advocates against them claim that they violated individuals' constitutional rights, others claim the lawyers risky tactics were likely not legal, or wise at the very least. Both local authorities and other legal experts have questioned the strategy and urge drivers to use caution when going through checkpoints.

What does the Supreme Court say about checkpoints?

Though many claim that these checkpoints blatantly violate the rights of citizens, law enforcement claims that they have been given special permission to perform these stops. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court approved and upheld the use of these DUI checkpoints, so long as they complied with certain regulations and rules, such as stopping drivers at random and announcing when they will occur.

In another brandish strategy, a driver posted a video of himself driving up to a checkpoint, using a similar flyer to state his rights, and dangling his license, insurance card, and registration out the window, though not rolling it down all the way. Though officers let him pass through, officials claim that he was not allowed to pass because of the tactic, but simply because he was clearly not intoxicated as judged by his behavior. They further stated that if officers had reasonable suspicion to believe he was impaired, they would have taken more action.

Can drivers use this strategy to get out of talking to officers?

So should you use this tactic if you pull up to a DUI checkpoint? While this may have worked for a man who was clearly not impaired, it doesn't mean officers will let it go every time. Rather than sparking more frustration in an officer, it is better to cooperate as best as you can and minimize the chances of officers singling you out.

Whether you find yourself unfairly pulled over or put behind bars after a DUI checkpoint, it is important that you understand your rights. More importantly, it is crucial that you reach out to a Tampa DUI lawyer as soon as possible if you have been charged with drunk driving. Reach out to our team today to get the support you need.

Tampa DUI Defense Attorney Thomas & Paulk, P.A. Attorneys at Law