In the past few months, you may have seen Youtube videos have been popping up left and right showing drivers in Florida passing through DUI checkpoints without having to submit to the standard inconveniencies normally associated with DUI checkpoints.
One video in particular (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqEXTVe7MCQ) has been view more that 2.2 million times and has inspired others make their own videos driving through DUI checkpoints, most of which are similar in content.
Drivers pull up to DUI checkpoints and instead of rolling down their windows to speak to the police and possibly give a breath sample, they motion to a Ziplock baggie dangling by a string from the top of the closed window.
The checkpoint officers look at the baggie which contains several items; a driver’s license, proof of insurance, registration, and the “fair DUI flier.” The flier, created by Boca Raton defense attorney, Warren Redlich, states in bold lettering, “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer.”
After inspecting the contents of the baggie, the officers wave the motorists through the checkpoint.
Although many of the YouTube videos show officers waving motorists through the checkpoint without incident, many law enforcement agencies take issue with the approach claiming that it’s a way for drunk drivers to avoid arrest.
Redlich, however, created the “fair DUI flier” to protect sober motorists from a false arrest. “People don’t realize that innocent people get arrested for drunk driving; it happens a lot,” said Redlich and I wholeheartedly agree.
I’ve said it before on this blog before that I, and other DUI defense attorneys, have defended many people where the arresting officer “observed the objective signs of intoxication” and it was later determined that the person was well below the legal limit or even sober. So why give them the opportunity to “observe” the bloodshot eyes, hear the slurred speech, smell the alcohol, etc.?
“If you don’t roll down your window and don’t speak, you’ve taken away some of those,” Redlich told NBC affiliate WTVJ.
Redlich’s method doesn’t sit well with Sheriff David Shoar of St. Johns County and president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. Pointing to the Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz case that I mentioned in my last post, Shoar told the associated press, “[Motorists] wouldn’t be allowed out of that checkpoint until they talk to us. We have a legitimate right to do it.”
Sorry, Mr. Shoar, you’re only half right.
Sure, law enforcement has a legitimate right to set up checkpoints. They do not have a legitimate right to force motorists to talk to them. In fact, it is the people’s constitutional right not to talk to law enforcement. And Redlich’s flier only ensures that people exercise their constitutional rights.