The United States Supreme Court has ruled that DUI checkpoints or roadblocks are legal as long as certain guidelines are followed carefully. The Supreme Court also ruled that individual states can decide for themselves whether roadblocks will be legal in their particular state.
Florida is one state that has decided that checkpoints are legal as long as the guidelines are followed.
What are the DUI Roadblock Guidelines?
- Before setting up a checkpoint, the police must put all the guidelines in writing.
- The police must make public in advance the date, time, and location of the proposed roadblock.
- Drivers must be given access to a place to turn around as they approach the checkpoint.
- Police must decide in advance the random method of choosing which vehicles to stop. An example would be every 3rd vehicle.
- They are not allowed to discriminate based on the appearance of the driver or the vehicle.
- They must limit the amount of time a driver is detained.
- They must post signs and lights at the site of the roadblock.
So if I turn around at a roadblock, the police can’t stop me?
Yes and no. While the police cannot pull you over solely for avoiding the roadblock, if they can identify another, separate reason to pull you over, that is legal.
At DUI checkpoints in Okaloosa County, the police will normally have “chase cars” on site. Their job is to go after people who avoid the checkpoint and they will be looking for any possible traffic violation to justify a traffic stop.
How do I protect myself at a DUI Checkpoint?
If you are planning to go out drinking anywhere in Okaloosa County, the best advice is don’t drink and drive. If you drive impaired and you hurt or kill someone, you will have years in prison to think about what you did. Protect yourself and everyone else on the road by choosing a designated driver ahead of time or calling a cab.
Aside from that, if you approach a DUI checkpoint, watch your speed, make sure your seatbelt is buckled, and that your driver’s license/registration/proof of insurance are all easily accessible.
Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 403-6835 for a free consultation.