DUI Checkpoints in Florida
During the holiday season, the police in Broward County often set up DUI checkpoints, according to our Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer. Checkpoints screen for intoxicated drivers in the south Florida area, because local police tend to report more DUI arrests associated with Christmas and New Year’s revelry. Ostensibly, a roadblock is established to protect the public from drunk drivers who take to the road after a few too many glasses of eggnog at the office holiday party.
In reality, DUI roadblocks work a little differently than you might expect. A typical DUI checkpoint will yield about four DUI arrests and even fewer DUI convictions, according to Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore, an authority on the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints. In most cases, the DUI checkpoints in the Fort Lauderdale/Broward/Fort Lauderdale-Dade metropolitan area and elsewhere produce numerous traffic tickets. The traffic ticket revenue provides an incentive for the police to continue operating DUI checkpoints, although the stated goal is to reduce DUIs. Fort Lauderdale police operating DUI checkpoints must adhere to a set of guidelines established by state law and the United States Supreme Court.
First, the police must have a written set of guidelines for their checkpoints. Police may stop your car, ask you questions, and administer breath or field sobriety tests. Broward law enforcement officials must notify the public in advance about the checkpoint, which is the reason why you may hear radio or television ads put out by law enforcement during the holidays or read about them in the newspaper. Sobriety checkpoints should be visible from a distance, marked with signs and police car lights, to put drivers on notice. If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, our Broward DUI lawyer can determine whether or not the evidence collected at the roadblock will be admissible in court. If the law enforcement officials did not follow all guidelines, a Broward DUI lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed.
One of the most important rules of DUI checkpoints is that the officers administering them cannot stop cars at random. Instead, there must be a pre-set formula that the police abide by when selecting cars to stop. For instance, Fort Lauderdale police brass can decide to stop every third car or every fifth car. The decision about which cars to stop must be made by supervisory officials, not by field officers.
Two important concerns that law enforcement must always evaluate are police officer safety and minimizing the period of time of the detention for passing motorists. DUI roadblocks are a constitutional search of citizens, but they must be kept minimally intrusive. A person arrested at a DUI checkpoint must be given access to a criminal lawyer.
Remember that if you encounter a DUI checkpoint in the Fort Lauderdale area this holiday season, you can turn around, even if you just want to avoid waiting in the long line of cars at the roadblock.
A good Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney is familiar with these issues and more. If you have been charged with DUI in south Florida, contact William Moore Criminal Defense, P.A., which has experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyers with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.
This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.