Your Rights at DUI Checkpoints
Charges for Driving Under the Influence (also known as DUI) can lead to severe penalties partnered with long-term implications. Every year, thousands of arrests are made in the state of Florida for DUI. When drivers approach DUI checkpoints on their way home, what are their rights?
Drivers stopped at DUI checkpoints will be approached by police and asked questions through the window. When the officer approaches the driver’s window, they assess the driver’s state of being through answers, their behavior, and other observable items in the vehicle.
USA Today has reported that some drivers are keeping their windows rolled up at these types of stops. Instead of talking to the authorities, people may choose to show the authorities, or present them with, a card or flyer that indicates they wish to invoke their constitutional rights. Some decide to use their rights to not speak to law enforcement officers until they have obtained an attorney. They’re allowed to leave if they are not charged with anything.
After talking with the drivers, law enforcement officers may decide that they are under the influence of alcohol. In this case, they may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. While motorists generally have the right to decline to participate in such tests, the decision to participate instead could work in their favor if they have not consumed any alcohol. Many times, authorities neglect to inform drivers of their right to refuse a field sobriety test when they are requesting one of drivers.
Refusing to take a Breathalyzer test is considered a misdemeanor. The penalties that this offense carries are typically imposed in addition to those that may be ordered for a DUI conviction. Drivers are subject to the recusal of their license for up to one year in the case of a refusal, according to Florida state law. In the case of a second offense, drivers could have their license taken away for an 18-month period.
Anyone who has been arrested for alcohol-related offenses could very well benefit from working with an attorney. A legal representative may explain their options, and also help them build a defense. In this case it may include questioning whether their rights were upheld during a DUI checkpoint as a start.
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