According to the Governor Highway Safety Association (GHSA), “Sobriety checkpoints (also called DUI checkpoints) are locations where law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment.” Many states utilize DUI checkpoints as a part of their bigger anti-drinking and driving campaign, and Florida is one of them. The GHSA says that Florida conducts 15 to 20 DUI checkpoints every month.
While DUI checkpoints are legal in Florida and Georgia, there are 13 states that do not conduct them, including Alaska, Idaho and Iowa. Some states are even “silent” on the issue, according to the GHSA. As a Miami DUI attorney, I’m frequently asked, “Can I legally turn away from a DUI checkpoint?” so I decided to dedicate a post to the subject. Read on as I explain.
Will You Get Caught if You Turn Away?
If you live in Miami-Dade County, you know that Miami has some of the best night life in the country, if not the entire world. The police aren’t naïve, they know that some of the best places to nab drunk drivers are near Miami’s hottest bars and nightclubs. So, what they’ll do is set up DUI checkpoints in areas with a high concentration of drunk drivers.
If you approach a DUI checkpoint late on a Friday or Saturday night, can you make a U-turn without any problems? It’s highly unlikely. You see, the cops are in the practice of using what’s called a “chase car” specifically to catch people who turn away from a DUI checkpoint. Even if someone makes a legal U-turn, or if they turn around in a parking lot, it still raises red flags to the police.
For all the chase car operator knows, the person turning away is impaired by alcohol or drugs, driving on a suspended license, or they have a warrant out for their arrest. So, you can try to turn away from a checkpoint, but chances are you’ll be tracked down and pulled over by the chase car.
If you turned away from a DUI checkpoint in Miami and you were pulled over by the chase car, I urge you to contact my office to discuss the legality of the stop. Call (305) 707-0036 to get started on your defense!