In the state of Florida it is perfectly legal for police officers to set up sobriety checkpoints in order to determine if motorists are driving under the influence.
However, officers must follow strict protocols when administering these checkpoints and if you have any questions as to whether a checkpoint and a resulting arrest were conducted properly, then you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.
If an improper checkpoint arrest took place, many DUI defense attorneys are able to show that a person’s Fourth Amendment rights have been violated; therefore, the arrest charges may get thrown out.
Was the Checkpoint Legal?
The United States Supreme Court created a three-point balancing test to determine whether sobriety checkpoints are reasonable and therefore legal under the Fourth Amendment.
The three points that are balanced against each other are as follows:
- The State’s interest in preventing motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk drivers
Obviously, states have an incredibly important interest in preventing unnecessary accidents and deaths caused by drunk drivers.
- The effectiveness of the sobriety checkpoints in achieving the State’s interest
Basically, are DUI checkpoints effective at curbing drunk driving? The answer to this question is almost always yes.
- The level of intrusion on a person’s constitutional right to privacy caused by the checkpoints
Generally, a quick, 25-second stop at a checkpoint and rolling down your window at a police officer’s request is considered reasonable.
Required Disclosure By The Police Department
States are required to demonstrate to the courts that the roadblock placement itself was reasonable. After reviewing he details of your arrest, a skilled defense attorney can force the police department to disclose and provide detailed information on the following:
- why the roadblock was set up
- which officers worked it or were present
- the conduct of each of the officers on the job
What Type Of Procedures Were Used At The DUI Checkpoint?
The law requires that police departments provide safe conditions, adequate lighting, and a number of other things to drivers at DUI checkpoints. They are required to have a specific, detailed plan stating which cars they are going to stop, for a predetermined length of time, and for how officers are going to perform the routine checks.
Many things have to be done in certain, proscribed manners, and executed correctly. The moment any police department deviates from the accepted and mandated policy, a motion to suppress the evidence will be filed.
These are the things that after your arrest details have been reviewed may help show you how to do. For this reason, it is often possible to dismiss the roadblock evidence entirely, if something was incorrectly executed by the arresting officers.
If you are stopped at a Florida DUI checkpoint, you should show your identification when asked. If you are asked to take a breathalyzer test, you have the option to refuse and request an attorney, but know that your refusal will most likely result in your arrest.
Note. Florida instituted “no refusal” checkpoints in some areas. If a driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test after being stopped, then the police are allowed to immediately take a blood sample. This is possible because a judge is stationed with the officers and can issue a warrant for a blood test right on the spot.