Are Sobriety Checkpoints Legal in Florida?
In order to conduct a traffic stop and assess a motorist’s sobriety, police must have probable cause to pull over the driver in the first place—most of the time. If police are conducting a sobriety checkpoint, though, they can essentially pull over motorists at random in order to identify drunk drivers.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, police conduct sobriety checkpoints in 38 states, and Florida is one of them. Police will conduct between 15 and 20 DUI checkpoints monthly across the state in an attempt to find inebriated motorists without having to wait for probable cause.
If you are facing DUI charges after going through a sobriety checkpoint and you want to discuss your rights, turn to DiRenzo Defense. Our legal team has defended thousands of clients during our 40 years of combined experience practicing law. Call 954-889-7502 to schedule a free consultation with a DUI attorney in Broward County.
What Are My Rights at A Sobriety Checkpoint?
Officers might have the right to pull you over without probable cause at a sobriety checkpoint, but you still have the right to refuse a search—or to talk to the police. According to USA Today, you must stop at a DUI checkpoint if police signal you, but you do not necessarily have to roll down your window.
By rolling down your window, you are granting police a certain amount of access to both your person and your vehicle, and they can use this access to gather alleged evidence of inebriation. For example, the officer might report that you have bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or beer breath once you roll down your window.
Although you do not have to roll down your window, you must still provide your license pursuant to Florida Statute 322.15. Some criminal defense attorneys recommend doing so by inserting your license in a plastic bag and lodging the top of the bag in the seal between the window and the door, so the officer can read it while your window remains closed.
This particular approach has become popular in recent years because motorists have filmed themselves applying it at various DUI checkpoints across the country; however, officers do not like this method, and they may assume that you are only using such an evasive technique because you are inebriated. In such a scenario, police may look harder for signs of drunk driving, even with your window rolled up, and it could eventually come down to your word against theirs.
You can avoid the possibility of an unfair traffic stop by avoiding sobriety checkpoints altogether. You can find the location of various checkpoints on websites like DUIBlock.com.
If you are facing DUI charges after driving through a sobriety checkpoint, it is important to remember that you still have rights, and a seasoned criminal attorney will defend those rights. Turn to DiRenzo Defense to discuss your case with a DUI defense lawyer in Broward County.
Call us to schedule a free consultation and determine the best way to proceed. You can learn more about DUI charges in Florida by visiting the USAttorneys website.