Florida law enforcement officers generally must have a legitimate reason to pull over a driver. Sobriety checkpoints are somewhat different. In Florida, law enforcement agencies may establish roadblocks to check for people driving under the influence (DUI). However, DUI checkpoints must be conducted according to the appropriate legal requirements. If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, you can hire an attorney to represent you. At Ellis and Bryant, our Jacksonville DUI lawyers have the experience to defend against any criminal charges arising from a sobriety checkpoint. We can protect your rights and help you challenge a drunk or drugged driving charge.DUI Checkpoints in Florida
Florida is one of many states in which DUI checkpoints, also referred to as sobriety checkpoints, are legal. A DUI checkpoint is a system used by the police and other law enforcement agencies to prevent drunk driving. DUI checkpoints usually are conducted in the evening and are commonly scheduled on holiday weekends such as New Years Eve, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. However, sobriety checkpoints may be conducted at any time of day and any day of the year, as long as they comply with the law. In fact, the date and address of upcoming DUI checkpoints must be posted in advance. Although the primary goal of a DUI checkpoint is to identify drunk drivers, the police may take appropriate action when there is probable cause that the driver has committed another crime, such as theft or drug possession.
When the police set up a DUI checkpoint, officers will be stationed at a specific location on the road, with barricades and flashing lights to signal cars to merge into one or two lanes of traffic. The roadblock must comply with detailed guidelines, particularly with respect to the selection of vehicles, in order to prevent any risk of profiling or harassment. For example, the police may stop every third car that passes through the DUI checkpoint as an objective and safe way to select vehicles. A lawyer can inform you of these rules and also provide guidance for a DUI checkpoint.What To Expect at a DUI Checkpoint
If you are stopped at a Florida DUI checkpoint, knowing what to expect and understanding your rights may make the process less intimidating. In general, the stop should be as brief as necessary when there is no reason to detain you for a longer period. The police may lawfully request your driver license, vehicle registration, and insurance information. During the stop, the officer may also be observing you for signs of intoxication or drug use. Additionally, the officer may ask you a few questions, such as whether you have been drinking. You may politely decline to answer these questions by asserting your constitutional right against self-incrimination. You may also refuse to consent to a police search of your vehicle. However, if a police officer has reason to suspect that you are impaired and requests that you take a field sobriety test, a refusal may result in a suspended license and potentially other penalties. The police may place you under arrest at a DUI checkpoint if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher, or if there is probable cause that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An attorney can assist you after a DUI arrest.Seek Guidance from a Lawyer in Jacksonville
If you are facing charges from a DUI checkpoint, you can hire a qualified attorney to defend against the prosecution. The lawyers at Ellis and Bryant can provide trustworthy advice and legal representation to people accused and arrested of drunk and drugged driving offenses. We assist residents of Clay and Duval Counties, including Orange Park, Middleburg, and Jacksonville. Request a free consultation to discuss a DUI or any other criminal charge by calling Ellis and Bryant at (904) 551-4120 or contacting us online.