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DUI Checkpoints During Holiday Season

dui-checkpoint_180x120-150x119With Christmas and News Year’s Eve upon us, people are in a celebratory mode, with festive activities and parties scheduled all around. It is important to have a designated driver appointed before each party to have a safe night once the party is over.

Driving while either intoxicated or drunk is dangerous and drivers with high blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) are at greatly increased risk of car accidents, highway injuries and vehicular deaths.

This Friday, Dec 27th, Broward’s Sheriff office will stage a DUI checkpoint in Delray Beach. Drivers will be screened at 380 S. Federal Highway, from 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Saturday.

Sobriety checkpoints (DUI checkpoints) are locations where law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment. DUI checkpoints are often set up late at night or in the very early morning hours and on weekends, at which time the proportion of impaired drivers tends to be the highest. Checkpoints are also often set near the exit points of public events, to prevent large numbers of drunk drivers from being released into traffic simultaneously from the event.

Sobriety checkpoints regularly catch much more than just drunk drivers. The identity checks will catch individuals wanted by the police, and DUI often occurs together with other crimes, such as vehicle inspection and registration violations, vehicle tax avoidance or driving without a license.

According to recent studies, most drivers arrested for DUI have almost no alcohol in their systems at all.  Increasing state legislation has made it virtually impossible to have a drink with friends and drive home without fear of being arrested, of being labeled as a criminal.

Many jurisdictions utilize sobriety checkpoints as part of their larger drunk driving deterrence program.

Due to legal issues surrounding their use, not all states conduct sobriety checkpoints. Some states have laws authorizing their use. Others forbid them or are silent on the issue.

States That Conduct Sobriety Checkpoints

38 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands conduct sobriety checkpoints.

In 12 states, sobriety checkpoints are not conducted. Some states prohibit them by state law or Constitution (or interpretation of state law or Constitution). Texas prohibits them based on the its interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

For a list of all states and DUI checkpoint information, please click on the source.

DUI Arrests

All DUI arrests begin with a suspicion, a reason to pull you over.  Whether that is because you have a turn signal bulb that is not functioning or because you were weaving while driving, it all stars with a cause.  Not giving the officer a cause to pull you over is the best protection.  Common causes of initial stops include:

  • Inoperable vehicle lights (headlights, taillights, turn signals, etc)
  • Obscured or unreadable license plate or tag
  • Suspicious behavior (weaving or swerving, etc)
  • Reckless driving (failure to stop at stop signs, etc)

What do you do if you are pulled over for DUI?

What can you expect to take place? Will you go directly to jail?  The outcome of the event will be determined by your actions, as well as the determination of the officer to investigate your driving.  Regardless of the reason for the initial stop, whether it was a blown taillight or a malfunctioning turn signal, you now see the blue lights in the rearview mirror.

Pull over as soon as it is safe.  Always pull off on the right side of the road and turn your dome light on.  Place your hands on the steering wheel in plain sight. Officers rightly fear for their safety when approaching an unknown situation; give them no cause for further anxiety or alarm. In addition, have your license and registration in a safe place, but do not reach for them until the officer asks for them.

Greet the officer calmly and courteously, never be belligerent or indignant.  This is an immediate tip that you may be intoxicated.  Remain calm and be pleasant if possible.  However, if the officer asks if you have been drinking, do not admit to having a single drink.  This gives the officer sufficient cause to administer a DUI test, or even arrest you.  The best recourse is simply to ask if the officer would like to see your license and registration.

If the officer asks you to step out of the car, comply, but do not perform any field sobriety tests.  These tests are designed to make you fail.  In addition, you are not required to perform any roadside testing, whatsoever.  By refusing the tests, but remaining calm and courteous, you force the officer to make his arrest decision based on your driving and your demeanor, rather than on the faulty results of inaccurate testing.  In addition, the results of these tests can be used against you in court; by avoiding the tests, you reduce the case against you.

West Palm Beach DUI Defense Attorney

Florida DUI convictions come with serious penalties, and defending against the DUI charges takes someone with in-depth knowledge of the many facets in a DUI case. If you have been arrested for DUI in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, or Wellington, take the important first step in your Palm Beach County DUI defense strategy and call Andrew D. Stine, P.A. immediately.

To find out more about what Andrew D. Stine, P.A. can do for your drunk driving case in Palm Beach County, call 561-832-1170 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.

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