DUI checkpoints, and their validity, seem to be a hot topic in the news and on social media recently. More and more drivers are questioning whether a checkpoint is legal, and if so what rules give validity to the checkpoint. In Florida, checkpoints are legal, but certain rules must be followed. The issue can be complicated, but once you are clear on what is allowed you will know how to react if you are stopped at a checkpoint. The first thing to remember is to keep your cool. When the authorities observe a calm demeanor, the remainder of the stop usually proceeds without incident. However, if you overreact, the chances of the stop escalating are high.
Knowing what makes a checkpoint valid does not have to be a confusing question. The three most important things to know about DUI checkpoints and what must be done in order for them to be valid are:
- Each vehicle stopped must be randomly chosen. The police are not permitted to “profile” drivers and pull over certain vehicles.
- The police are required to give advance notice of their intent to hold a checkpoint, and give information as to the date, time, and place of the stop. Failure to give advance notice to the public about the checkpoint is grounds for dismissal of any charges filed against you from an arrest at a checkpoint.
- Any stop made cannot last longer than three minutes. If the stop goes on for a prolonged period of time, it is not a valid stop and any arrest made should not be upheld.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI from a checkpoint stop, it is critical to seek legal advice immediately. An investigation into the stop may reveal it was not conducted in accordance with the law. If that is the case, the charges against you should not remain on file. Any deviation from established procedure is not tolerated, and in cases where evidence exists showing the police did not follow protocol, that evidence is something you should use as part of your defense. For more information about DUI arrests and DUI checkpoints, call us to review your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.
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