Even though DUI checkpoints in the United States are generally legal, they must comply with various rules imposed by federal and state law. These DUI checkpoints are in place to both deter drunk drivers and also catch those who in violation of the law. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol-impaired driving crashes make up of approximately one-third of total traffic-related deaths in the United States, making it a significant public health issue.
Sometimes, however, a DUI checkpoint violates a driver’s constitutional rights. When this occurs, drivers who have been accused of drunk driving may be able to have any evidence gathered as a result of the checkpoint suppressed—often resulting in the charges against the driver being dropped. For this reason, if you suspect your rights were violated at a DUI checkpoint, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.
What Constitutes a Legal DUI Checkpoint?
While many argue DUI checkpoints can violate your constitutional rights, there are red flags you can look out for to determine if the stop is legal or violating your rights. The following are the legally appropriate questions or concerns that may be addressed by the police officer during the checkpoint:
- Does the driver have impaired speech?
- Does the driver smell of alcohol?
- Does the driver have impaired motor conditions?
- Does the driver have bloodshot red eyes?
- Is the driver in possession of a valid driver’s license?
- Is the driver experiencing reduced information processing capability?
The Possible Charges You May Face for DUI
DUI convictions are relatively harsh in the state of Florida. Here are some of the potential penalties associated with DUI in Florida:
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation
- Mandatory DUI Programs and fees
- Fines ranging from $500 to $5,000, depending on the number of DUIs on your record
- Probation for no longer than one year
- Jail time of no longer than nine months
DUI Defenses After an Arrest at a Checkpoint
There are often legal defenses available to people facing DUI charges after going through a checkpoint. In many cases, they are extremely technical, so it is important for anyone facing a DUI case to consult with a lawyer to see whether they apply. Some of the most common include the following:
- The checkpoint procedures did not comply with federal or state law
- The breathalyzer used was not properly calibrated
- The defendant has a medical condition that can cause symptoms that resemble intoxication
When Do I Need to Consult an Attorney?
If you have been arrested after going through a DUI checkpoint, you need to talk to an attorney immediately. It is very common for DUI checkpoints to be unconstitutional. Often people are not aware their constitutional rights were violated, leading to an unnecessary conviction on their record. Remember, the court will not uphold your rights for you.
Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
DUI arrests can stay on your record forever. In many instances, your DUI checkpoint or conviction may be violating your constitutional rights. At Khonsari Law Group, we are dedicated to providing aggressive criminal defense representation that is designed to resolve your case as favorably as possible. Call us today at (727) 269-5300 for a free consultation or send us an email through our online contact form.