While police generally must have probable cause to pull you over, DUI checkpoints are the exception. Police have the right to stop motorists so they can identify drunk drivers. However, motorists have rights too. Below we review some of the details surrounding the Florida DUI checkpoint law and how you can protect your rights should you come across a roadblock.
What are Florida’s checkpoint laws and what are my rights?
Many consider sobriety checkpoints an invasion of privacy and an infringement of Constitutional rights. However, in 1990, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz that checkpoints met the Fourth Amendment standard of reasonable search and seizure.
Officers have the right to stop you, ask you for your license, and request that you submit to a sobriety test if they suspect intoxication. However, there are certain guidelines by which officers must abide.
First, Florida adheres to the “three-minute rule.” Officers cannot detain motorists in a traffic stop for more than three minutes. If it takes longer than three minutes, they have to temporarily suspend the diversion of vehicles, stop only selected vehicles at the checkpoint commander’s discretion until the stops fall under the three-minute mark.
In addition, the law requires police agencies to publically post the date and location of scheduled DUI checkpoints.
And know what to do if you get pulled over for DUI in Florida. Do not be rude or confrontational when an officer pulls you over, but remember your rights. You must display your license when requested and get out of the car if the officer asks you to, but you have the right to refuse to answer the officer’s questions. And despite Florida’s implied consent law, you can refuse to a sobriety test, although there are consequences for doing so.
How do I find out when and where officers will hold checkpoints?
Our firm in no way advocates driving while under the influence. We strongly encourage everybody to designate a sober driver, call a taxi or rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, or find another way home after drinking.
However, the law provides motorists the right to know of DUI checkpoints in advance. There are a couple ways you can learn when and where these checkpoints will be.
- You can search by county on DUIBlock.com.
- You can browse the listings by state on The Roadblock Registry.
- You can download a DUI checkpoint app, such as Mr. Checkpoint, Sobriety Alerts, and PhantomALERT.
What do I do if I am facing DUI charges?
Your first step after a DUI arrest is to consult a DUI defense attorney and discuss the best way to move forward. To speak to an attorney in St. Petersburg now, contact Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900.