Many DUI charges arise out of traffic stops that occur because of erratic driving or other circumstances that indicate a driver may be intoxicated. While the police are permitted to stop motorists, they generally must have a reasonable belief that a person is committing a crime or is about to engage in criminal activity for a stop to be lawful. There is an exception, though, for DUI checkpoints. In other words, under Florida law, the police are permitted to stop motorists without cause to assess whether they may be impaired without violating their rights. The police must comply with specific parameters when they conduct DUI checkpoints, though, and if they do not, they may overstep their lawful rights. If you are charged with a DUI following a stop at a checkpoint, you should meet with a trusted Sarasota DUI defense attorney to assess your options.
Florida’s DUI Checkpoint Rules
Florida is one of several states where it is lawful for the police to set up DUI checkpoints. The police must abide by certain rules and regulations when setting up and conducting checkpoints, though. First, checkpoints cannot be conducted in secret. In other words, the police must notify the public of checkpoints. Specifically, they must publish the location and the date of the checkpoint prior to when it is set up. The checkpoint must also be conducted in compliance with certain guidelines, which means, in part, that officers cannot randomly or discriminately stop certain vehicles but must have clear procedures regarding who will be stopped.
Additionally, police officers are limited by a three-minute rule. In other words, they cannot detain a driver for more than three minutes in most circumstances. If a stop exceeds three minutes, the checkpoint should be suspended, and the police should only stop select vehicles until the traffic is stopped for less than three minutes. Continue Reading ›