Your Rights at a Florida DUI Checkpoint
January 18, 2023 – Micheal J. Kelley, Esq.
There has been an increase in funding for task forces and DUI checkpoints across the country, which provide manpower and resources dedicated to catching drunk drivers. In Florida, the Highway Patrol establishes DUI checkpoints in areas where people are likely to be driving under the influence. DUI checkpoints are one common method used to cut down on DUIs. No matter if you’ve been drinking, you need to know how to act at these checkpoints.
Florida DUI Checkpoints
If you’re a new driver, you may not be familiar with DUI checkpoints in Florida. These are areas where police have set up a road barricade. Each driver is stopped and checked for signs of intoxication. They check for bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol, and visible empty containers.
If there is probable cause to believe that the driver is intoxicated, they will be asked to pull over for further examination. All other drivers will be waived through the checkpoint.
Have Documentation Ready
If you come to a DUI checkpoint, don’t turn around, for it may look suspicious or even be illegal. Have your driver’s license, insurance, and registration ready so that if the officer asks you for them, you won’t have to fiddle in search of them. It would also be best if you roll down your window to an appropriate extent so that you can communicate with law enforcement.
Don’t Volunteer Information
You only need to provide the officer with basic information that he or she asks about, regardless of whether you’ve had a few beers or not. They are supposed to ask questions like:
- Do you still live at the same address?
- Are you sick, injured, or impaired? Basically, is there anything that may keep you from operating the motor vehicle in the appropriate manner?
However, they often tend to ask:
- Have you had anything to drink tonight? As soon as you say yes, you become a suspect.
- Where are you going, and where are you coming from? This is to determine whether you’re going in the right direction again to confirm whether you’re impaired or not.
These questions are designed to gain evidence against you. In our opinion, the response should be something like: “With all due respect, where I’m going is none of your business. I’ve had nothing to drink tonight. May I please go now?”
Don’t volunteer any other information that can be used against you later.
In the event that you come across a DUI checkpoint, you should try to be patient and understanding. A DUI checkpoint is intended to keep you and other drivers safer on the roads. You should be able to pass through the checkpoint within minutes as long as you haven’t consumed too much alcohol. Be courteous and considerate to the officers during that time.
Refusing The Breath Test
In Florida, you have to be under arrest before you can be offered a breath test. Until that time, you do not need to consent to one. If you have had too much to drink, a breath test can be used as evidence against you, and it is best to refuse.
If you refuse to take a breath test, there is a chance you may be asked to take a blood test at the police station. In Florida, a blood test can only be taken with your consent or if you have caused an accident where there’s serious bodily injury.
If you’re driving sober, a DUI checkpoint isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, DUI checkpoints can make the roads safer for everyone.
Make sure to keep these important dos and don’ts in mind. It may also be a good idea to understand Flordia DUI Penalties based on the number of offenses and type.
DUI Defense Lawyers
If you are charged with a DUI as the result of a Brevard County, Florida DUI checkpoint, seek a Florida DUI lawyer that will provide an aggressive DUI defense. Michael Kelley at Mario Gunde Peters & Kelley is ready to defend you and can even meet with you in the evenings, on weekends, and on holidays if necessary. Contact the Legal Eagles at MGP&K for a free initial consultation to immediately address your needs.