Fort Myers, FL – There are certain times where police departments block off entire sections of roadways and check every driver for indicators or impairment. While this is technically legal, there are a number of things that the police must do to ensure that charges will not be dismissed in court, as courts in Florida have heavily scrutinized DUI checkpoints.
Requirements for a DUI checkpoint
One of the main concerns about a DUI checkpoint from a legal perspective is that certain drivers would be stopped, while others are let through. This is why most of the guidelines center around objective criteria for stopping all cars that pass by. Usually all cars are made to go through a checkpoint for a predetermined period of time. It is also possible that some other objective method of inspecting drivers will be created, but offices cannot deviate from this procedure.
Police also cannot stop drivers for more then a few seconds unless they are actively investigating them for driving under the influence. This means that most drivers’ encounters with the police will be very brief, and they cannot start detaining people that pass through for any longer than necessary.
There needs to be signage and lighting to clearly indicate an active checkpoint in the area. This is done out of safety concerns and to put drivers on notice. The agency conducting the checkpoint also needs to give public notice of the time and date that they plan on running the operation.
Defenses available in checkpoint cases
The written guidelines that detail the checkpoint need to be made available to both the defense attorney and the prosecutor assigned to the case. The defendant’s lawyer can review these guidelines for compliance with the criteria above, as well as what the officer does after the person was under investigation. Aside from the checkpoint itself, DUI investigations are still required to follow certain other rules related to field sobriety testing, obtaining a chemical sample for testing, and Florida’s implied consent law. A crucial mistake at any part of this process may cause the charges to be reduced or dismissed altogether. Because the penalties associated with a criminal DUI conviction can include a loss of a driver’s license, jail time, fines, and probation, it is crucial for suspects to get legal help as soon as possible.
Defending against a case for driving under the influence
Michael Raheb is an experienced defense attorney who helps clients with their DUI charges in the Fort Myers area. After an arrest, anyone who is facing the prospect of a conviction should speak with him to explore their options.
Firm contact info:
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901