Whether it’s speeding, driving while a tag light is out, or some other traffic violation, a police officer in Florida must have a lawful reason to pull someone over, even if suspected of DUI. If an officer does not observe enough improper driving prior to stopping a driver, this can be grounds to have a DUI dismissed.
During this holiday season, between the office parties, family events, and New Year’s celebrations, unfortunately, DUI fatality accidents have increased during this normally festive season. In response, law enforcement agencies began to run roadblocks as an enforcement tool to stop driver’s before any improper driving has been observed. The United States Supreme Court in a decision from 1990 has upheld this enforcement tactic. https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/496/444.
The Florida Supreme Court has also upheld the use of DUI Roadblocks and law enforcement must operate the roadblock in the following manner:
- There must be written guidelines published prior to the DUI Roadblock.
- How are the vehicles to be randomly selected?
- How are the vehicles to be detained?
- How are the vehicles to be handled?
These standards are to be reviewed to ensure that there is actually written guidelines that limit the discretion of the police to detain drivers without witnessing any improper driving. https://law.justia.com/cases/florida/supreme-court/2018/sc17-1725.html
What has evolved in Florida is that a police agency will publish a notice that they will be conducting a checkpoint at a certain location for a certain period of time. Internally the police agency will then create a duty directive that lists which officers or other agencies will assist in this process, which vehicles will be stopped (i.e. every 3rd, 5th or 7th, etc.), whether there is a license or registration check to minimize the detention of unsuspected driver’s, where to have driver’s who may have warrants or are suspected of other violations (i.e. DUI) diverted so as not to delay the other vehicles in line, and where to have the cars taken if the driver is arrested?
In practice what will happen is that there will be a public service announcement of the location of the roadblock, extra officers will be assigned, often with multiple agencies during the time of the DUI Roadblock. Once at the location at the start time, cones will be put in the road to direct traffic to a single lane, every # car pursuant to the guidelines will be stopped and directed to pull into an adjacent parking lot, that driver will be asked for DL and Registration, if there is a warrant for an arrest, or if the driver smells of alcohol and is suspected of DUI, that driver will be further detained for a criminal investigation or arrest.
If any of these requirements are not met, the DUI Roadblock Arrest may be subject to being dismissed.
To properly review a DUI Roadblock Arrest, it takes an experienced Tampa DUI Roadblock Attorney to gather all of the background documents to ensure that mandatory requirements from the Florida Supreme Court have been complied with. If you are facing a DUI as a result of such a DUI Checkpoint, call Taracks & Associates at 813-281-2897 for your Free Consultation today.
Often, officers on the scene of a DUI Roadblock Operation exceed their authority. For example, since signage for the diverting of traffic is posted prior to the location, police agencies have been known to have unmarked cars proceed after cars that turn around in advance of the actual cones diverting traffic. Also, while a driver must produce DL and registration information, other questions like “Have you been drinking” do not have to be answered. The officer’s cannot suspend your ability to drive if you don’t take a pre-arrest screening portable breath test, but this test can often be confused with a post-arrested breath test that complies with Florida’s Implied Consent provision of Fla. Stat. §316.1932(1).
Further with use of cell phone technology, officers will tend to get more aggressive when they see that they are being recorded by an occupant in a diverted car. If the officers prevent/destroy the recording of the tactics used at a DUI Roadblock Checkpoint that will then raise other concerns or problems with a DUI Roadblock Checkpoint’s operation.
These are just some of the many problems and legal issues that will arise when a police department decides to go down the path of running a DUI Roadblock.
We at Taracks & Associates have handled DUI Roadblock cases that have had many more issues than those described above.
So if this Holiday Season you have the unfortunate circumstance of being detained at a DUI Roadblock Checkpoint, call one of the experienced Florida DUI Roadblock Attorneys at Taracks & Associates for your Free Consultation at 813-281-2897. We will then discuss the facts of your case, and pursue a defense to help protect your reputation, your livelihood and your reputation.