- Education and Science
Beware Of The DUI Checkpoints
It is the season to be jolly. For many that merriment may come from a little too much eggnog, beer, wine or favorite poison. This is perfectly fine of course, if you are of age, but make sure you when leaving home that you have a DD (designated driver). Don't let even a single drink ruin the rest of your holidays. Beware that while you are out there celebrating in the spirit of St. Nick the traffic cops will be in full force meeting their quotas by issuing tickets, making arrests and randomly stopping and checking you in the vehicle all in the name of the DUI checkpoints.
Nothing can sober you up more than your vehicle being selected from the checkpoint line and you suspected of driving under the influence. In Florida a .08 percent or above blood alcohol level is considered to be impaired. The mere detection from the officer is enough to put you on the dui jumping path. Guaranteed you will be asked to perform at minimum the standarized sobriety tests.
Drinking and driving is a sure fire way to the beginning of the DUI journey. From then follows the arrest, the bail, applying for a hardship license, hiring an attorney, going to court, court costs an possibly depending on the outcome of the case probation and higher auto insurance rates.
Normally every other car or every third car is stopped during a routine DUI checkpoint. If stopped, you will need to provide your drivers license, insurance and registration to the traffic cop. You may think that since you are not drinking its not a problem. As logical a that may sound once stopped you can get cited for any of a number of other traffic violations unrelated to the DUI check such as seatbelt violations, faulty equipment, driving with a suspended license, expired drivers license or tag. DUI checkpoint rarely net DUI arrests but they do generate plenty of traffic violation tickets and revenue for the county.
DUI checkpoints by law have to be announced to the public. If you wish to avoid them check your local newspaper, a sheriffs website or catch the local news to find out where and when they will be conducted. You will avoid the traffic, inconvenience and maybe be spared a ticket.
These checkpoints can be a nuisance, especially if you are in a rush . For the most part though they take place between the evening and the wee hours of the morning when one is most likely to be off work and maybe having cocktails with friends. We can probably agree they are a necessary evil, it’s the states and traffic cops way of ensuring we remain law abiding citizens throughout the holiday season and special events while providing safety to the public.
One Leg Stand Test
Walk and Turn Test
HGN (Eye) Test
If you are one of the unfortunate soul that gets stopped remember to remain calm and be as pleasant to the officer as you can be. If the officer believes you have been drinking he will ask you to exit the vehicle and perform some field sobriety tests. You can and should politely refuse to perform them. In most states, field sobriety tests are voluntary , meaning you do not have to take one. Passing the field sobriety test does not guarantee you will be cut lose. Police officers use these tests to establish probable cause for the arrest and gather evidence. They are meant to be failed as these tests were designed to make a person feel uncomfortable. Even a totally sober person can fail one of these tests especially if that person gets nervous, lacks focus, is fatigued, or just plain uncoordinated.
Non-Standarized Sobriety Tests
Finger to Nose Test
Finger Count Test
Hand Pat Test
Numbers Backward Test
Under the law you are required to submit to a blood, urine or breath test if arrested for a DUI. Refusing to do so is an additional charge and can have both criminal and civil penalties like that of revoking your driving privilege.
If given a choice upon arrest always go with the blood test. With breathalyzers there can be the possibility of human error especially if the machine is not well calibrated. Also, breath test results cannot be further examined at a later date in the event of a trial while blood samples can.
Field Sobriety Test
- Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests have been used by law enforcement for a long time to determine if someone is driving under the influence of alcohol.
DUI on Bicycle
- Two bicycle riders charged with DUI on same day - St. Petersburg Times
DUI bicyling charges are rare except on Tuesday morning in Hernando County
Are DUI Checkpoints Unconstitutional
- AUTOMOBILE CHECKPOINTS: Unconstitutional but good for writing tickets :: Florida DUI Lawyer Blog
AUTOMOBILE CHECKPOINTS: Unconstitutional but good for writing tickets :: Florida DUI Lawyer Blog