Are DUI Checkpoints Even Legal?
June 10, 2016
If you have been charged with a DUI, contact us today!
As you drive home from an entertaining dinner with friends, you see the telltale flashing lights and signs indicating, “DUI checkpoint ahead.” Even though you had only one glass of wine, your heart jumps into your chest. DUI checkpoints are common occurrences on Florida roads, but what many drivers do not know is that all checkpoints must meet strict guidelines in order to be legal.
Florida's DUI checkpoints must be preceded by a strict set of operational guidelines in order for them to effectively replace the requirement that law enforcement have probable cause to effect a traffic stop. A specific vehicle selection criteria must be preset in order to avoid individual discretion of the officers in the field. For example, some checkpoints will require officers detain only every fifth vehicle. The purpose is two-fold; one, to keep traffic moving, and two, to have an objective protocol that keeps officers from targeting a specific vehicle based on a whim. This makes the stopping of vehicles fair.
The checkpoint procedures, if administered legally, eliminate only the need for probable cause to stop you. But regular fourth amendment laws apply thereafter. So once a vehicle is diverted into the inspection area, the police must still have reasonable suspicion to believe you are impaired before they can ask you to exit your vehicle and perform roadside tests.
If there are any variations in the pre-set selection or investigation criteria during the operation of the checkpoint, they can only be initiated by officers in command. Those changes and the reasons they occurred must be noted in an after-action report.
If you were stopped and arrested during a DUI Checkpoint, contact your Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney today. The legal team at Golburgh Law has years of experience and expertise fighting allegations of DUI in Florida, and is available today for a free consultation.