A Florida lawyer’s “strategy” for dealing with a DUI checkpoint has caught the imagination of motorists all over the country and put the spotlight on what drivers’ rights are when they are stopped at a checkpoint. According to Warren Redlich, all you have to do when approaching the checkpoint is to put your license and proof that you are insured in a plastic sleeve as well as a flier declaring that you want an attorney, are remaining silent and refuse requests for a search of your vehicle. Roll up the window with the plastic sleeve on the outside and then refuse to roll down the window or say anything. Doing this would prevent the officers manning the checkpoint from claiming that you showed signs of intoxication such as slurred speech or breath that smells of alcohol. A video of Redlich using this tactic that he posted on YouTube has already been viewed more than two million times.
While Florida police have disputed the legitimacy of the tactic and claimed that Redlich was allowed to pass simply because he showed no signs of intoxication, Redlich said that his method was successful in achieving his stated goal of preventing police from making up a reason to arrest drivers for a DUI. He also claimed that it was not a method that would allow drivers who were actually intoxicated from avoiding arrest since it requires a certain amount of discipline to successfully implement.
Keep in mind that a DUI checkpoint is only legal if it is conducted properly. The following criteria must be followed:
- Motorists must be stopped according to a neutral formula that does not discriminate against particular drivers.
- Proper safety precautions, such as adequate lighting, prominently-displayed warning signs, and clearly-identifiable police personnel and vehicles.
- There must be sufficient indication that the checkpoint is an official one and its nature clearly identified.
What are the rights you can assert when at a DUI checkpoint?
- The right to not speak to the officers until you can consult with your lawyer.
- The right to refuse to give consent to a search of your person, car or personal effects.
- The right to refuse to answer questions without a lawyer present, as well as to participate in acts such as a line-up or other physical acts such as a field sobriety test.
- The right to exercise your Miranda rights if you are under arrest, and to confer with an attorney if the officer does not recognize your rights.
- The right to refuse to give consent to an impoundment of your vehicle if you are taken into custody, as well as to make reasonable arrangements to secure your property.
You can have your rights printed in a card that you will hand to the officer along with your license and registration.
In addition, you can refuse to participate in field sobriety tests while at the DUI checkpoint. Keep in mind that refusing these tests will not prevent the officer from arresting you if he believes he has probable cause to do so, but will prevent him from gathering more evidence which can be used against you in court.