SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS: WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?
The state of Florida is one of 38 states that conducts random Sobriety Checkpoints. The U.S. Supreme Court approved such checkpoints if certain requirements are met. Just a few of those are:
- The location of the checkpoint must be published to the public, or the checkpoint must be clearly visible to drivers.
- It is legal for a driver to make a u-turn to avoid the checkpoint if a u-turn is otherwise legally allowed in that location.
- The stop must be brief with only enough time for the officer to make an evaluation of the condition of the driver.
- A search of the vehicle is not allowed.
- If an officer has a reasonable suspicion that a driver is incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs after the brief interview, chemical sobriety tests may be administered.
What Are Your Rights?
Although your Fourth Amendment rights are limited in that the law allows a brief stop of your car, you still have certain constitutional rights including:
- Your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. You are not required to answer any questions. When asked, “Have you been drinking tonight,” the tendency is to answer, “I only had a glass of wine at dinner,” or “I just had a couple of beers at the game.” You have now admitted that you have been drinking. Do not answer any questions. If you already answered the question and were arrested and charged, a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyermay still be able to help.
- Your Fourth Amendment rights must be honored and your car may not be searched unless the officers have probable cause or if you consent.
Implied Consent to Chemical Testing
If you are arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, under Florida law, by obtaining a driver’s license, you have given implied consent to chemical testing of your breath, blood and urine. If you refuse testing, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended.. The arresting officer required to inform you of this. Keep in mind that this rule only applies after you have been arrested. You are not required to submit to chemical testing simply pursuant to the stop.
If you have been charged with drunk driving (DUI) due to a stop at a sobriety checkpoint, do not wait. Contact James Davis, an experienced Jacksonville defense attorney as soon as possible.