It is well-known that driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs may increase the risk of auto collisions and bodily injury to motorists and pedestrians. To enforce Florida DUI laws and reduce the amount of alcohol-related accidents, the state has authorized a number of strategies, including DUI checkpoints. A DUI stop or sobriety checkpoint is a temporary roadblock set up by law enforcement to check for impaired drivers on the road. If you have been arrested at a sobriety checkpoint for drunk or drugged driving, our St. Petersburg DUI lawyers can help you defend against the prosecution. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we have the experience and skill to protect your rights and challenge charges arising from a DUI checkpoint.Florida DUI Checkpoints
Florida is one of several states in which a DUI stop or sobriety checkpoints are legal. At a typical DUI checkpoint, police officers are positioned around a barricade or traffic barrier that blocks off a section of the road. They may use signs, flashing safety beacons, and/or their emergency vehicle lights to alert drivers and direct traffic through the sobriety checkpoint. DUI checkpoints are frequently conducted on holiday evenings and weekends, such as the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, or New Years Eve. However, a Florida DUI stop may take place at any time, as long as advance public notice of the date and location is given.
The officers conducting the checkpoint may make a DUI arrest if they have probable cause that a driver is impaired by alcohol and/or controlled substances. In Florida, a person commits a DUI offense if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 or above, or with a certain amount of drugs in their system. Moreover, driving under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs is illegal if it impairs the driver’s normal faculties.
At a DUI checkpoint, the police may check drivers for signs of recent alcohol or drug use, such as impaired coordination, slurred speech, or smelling of alcohol or marijuana. If there is reason to suspect that a driver is intoxicated, the officer may ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests or take a breathalyzer test. The results of these tests and/or other observations may provide cause for the police to make a DUI arrest. Although the main objective of a sobriety checkpoint is to prevent drunk driving, the police may also respond appropriately to evidence of other violations, such as illegal drug possession.Defending Against DUI Checkpoint Charges
A DUI checkpoint must comply with certain legal requirements to prevent unreasonable and unconstitutional police harassment. Law enforcement officers must use an objective method to stop drivers at a DUI roadblock if they are not checking every vehicle. For example, they may stop every second or third vehicle that passes through the checkpoint. During the stop, they may ask drivers to show their license and registration. However, police cannot detain drivers for more than a few minutes without any reason to do so. If there is cause for the officer to request a breath test, the driver is obligated to comply pursuant to Florida’s implied consent law. Drivers should be aware that a DUI refusal may be subject to a license suspension and possibly other consequences. A defense lawyer can provide guidance regarding sobriety checkpoint requirements and advise whether it was conducted lawfully.Discuss Your Case with an Attorney in St. Petersburg
If you have been arrested at a DUI checkpoint, a skilled lawyer can argue against a conviction and protect your rights in court. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our attorneys defend people accused of drunk driving offenses, drug crimes , and other criminal charges. We represent defendants throughout Pinellas County, including Tampa Bay, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg. To request a free consultation with a defense attorney, call Blake & Dorsten at 727-286-6141 or contact us online.