Nothing ever goes according to plan and anything can happen at any given moment, including running into a DUI checkpoint. Whether or not you are under the influence, coming up on a checkpoint can be overwhelming and can cause major anxiety. DUI checkpoints are not legal in every state; however, it is important to know that they are legal in Florida. The following information is what you need to know about Florida DUI checkpoints.
DUI Checkpoints Are Legal
Florida law enforcement have to abide by several rules and regulations in order to run a DUI checkpoint. Therefore, if you come upon a checkpoint then the police are well within their rights to run it.
If law enforcement asks for you to stop, then you must stop. Otherwise, you are risking the chance of getting arrested. Having the right to run through a DUI checkpoint does not exist. It is also not a good idea to tell the police that a DUI checkpoint is unconstitutional when you do stop. The police are not interested in hearing it and you are making yourself look suspicious.
If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, it is common for police to approach you and ask questions. They may use the answers you give them and your behavior along with their observations and other information obtained during questioning as probable cause to investigate more.
However, you are not inclined to answer questions asked by law enforcement. The fifth amendment states that we do have the right to remain silent when being asked questions. It might feel rude if you do not answer the questions; therefore, the best way to answer when asked a question is saying something along the lines of, “I decline to answer.”
Keep in mind that being silent is not the same thing as being non-compliant. If an officer asks for your license and registration, you should give it to them no questions asked. Make sure that you are nice and follow orders.
Field Sobriety Tests
Once the police are done speaking with you and feel as if you may be under the influence, they might ask you to complete field sobriety test exercises (FSEs). It is common for police to neglect to inform individuals of their right to refuse to complete FSEs when they are making requests. However, even though motorists usually have the right to not participate, doing so could be beneficial if they are not under the influence.
Consenting and Not Consenting to Chemical Testing
If the police find good reason, they might ask you to take a chemical test, which includes breath and/or blood alcohol tests. You may refuse these tests once you are under arrest, but refusing can come with penalties. Florida’s implied consent law states that people automatically agree to chemical testing when they drive anywhere in Florida.
If you refuse a breath test, there are consequences that follow. It is considered a misdemeanor offense for anyone who has a prior refusal on their record. Under the Florida state law, drivers are subject to:
- 12-month driver’s license suspension for a first-time refusal
- 18-month driver’s license suspension for a previous refusal
These penalties are usually added to those of a DUI conviction.
Overall, the main points you need to remember regarding Florida DUI checkpoints is that they are legal, you don’t have to answer questions, and law enforcement have to follow specific standards when conducting them. If you or a loved one is accused of drinking while under the influence, contact Mercy Bail Bonds. We are available 24/7 and can help you understand your bond options to get you or your loved ones out of jail quickly.