DUI checkpoints, also called “sobriety checkpoints” are locations where law enforcement officers set up to check drivers for signs of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Across the United States, many jurisdictions use DUI checkpoints as a part their anti-drunk driving campaign.
Are DUI checkpoints legal?
Due to the fact that there are many legal issues surrounding their use, not all states conduct DUI checkpoints, however, Florida, along with 37 other states and the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands authorize their use.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association®, Florida conducts between 15 and 20 sobriety checkpoints each month, and they are upheld under the federal Constitution.
About Sobriety Checkpoints
DUI checkpoints come in two forms: strategic/small-scale and saturation/large-scale. The difference between the two generally comes down to staffing levels and personnel. For example, a large-scale effort may use a dozen or more officers, while a small scale checkpoint only uses three to five officers.
Large-scale checkpoints are labor-intensive, and many agencies don’t have the personnel to staff such a checkpoint. Small or large-scale, all checkpoints must be conducted using the same guidelines.
A properly conducted checkpoint is planned well in advance to ensure that it meets the legal requirements. If a checkpoint is unregulated, it can be ruled unconstitutional or illegal by the courts.
In fact, when law enforcement officers have deviated from the acceptable procedures, such departures have been used as evidence against law enforcement in the courts.
Site selection includes:
- A site with a high incidence of impaired driving crashes or fatalities.
- Selecting a site that protects the public’s safety.
- Ensuring that the checkpoint can be seen from a far distance.
- Ensuring that drivers would have plenty of time to stop if traffic is backed up.
- Selecting a site where the officers and volunteers won’t be unsafe.
- Select a site with ample shoulder space for detained motorists.
If a law enforcement officer suspects that a driver is impaired by another substance other than alcohol, a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) should be called to the scene to assist, otherwise the officer should
follow normal departmental procedures for drivers under the influence of drugs.
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, it’s imperative that you take swift and immediate action in building your defense. Contact my firm for a free case evaluation with a hard-hitting Miami DUI attorney!