Levy County — Many drivers have encountered a DUI checkpoint, and one video, shot in Levy County, Florida, is telling drivers they don’t even have to open their window to roll right through.
The video has many asking if it is exercising your rights or keeping drunk drivers from being caught?
Attorneys say some law enforcement officers have arrested Florida residents for refusing to roll down their window, some even breaking the window. But refusing to roll down your window is legal in Florida and law enforcement officials cannot arrest you for refusing, or break the window during a DUI checkpoint.
On New Year’s Eve, just before 10 p.m. in Levy County, Florida, Jason Gray knew he was about to hit a DUI checkpoint.
“This is my Fair DUI flier,” he said while recording the video. “You can see it has Fair DUI flier language. ‘I remain silent, no searches, I want my attorney.’ ”
Inside the plastic bag that he hangs from the closed driver’s side window is all the identification a law enforcement official will need need: License, registration, and insurance. The flier also cites two Florida statutes attorneys say are very important for Floridians.
“I will not have to open my window,” Gray said, “because the second you open your window, they can say they smell alcohol or drugs in the vehicle and the moment you say a word, they can claim your speech is slurred.”
In the video, as Gray pulled up to the checkpoint, deputies shined a light on the note, took a few seconds to study it, then sent him on his way. One of them waved, and stated, “have a nice day.”
The video has gotten more than a million views since January 1, and to no surprise, has stirred up massive controversy.
“The intention is not to give the drunks a get-out-of-jail free card. A lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea that police can just stop you for no reason. If you are not comfortable with that, this is a good way of handling a checkpoint,” FairDui.org founder and author, Warren Redlich, said. “There are good cops and there are bad cops. The purpose of this flier is to protect innocent people from bad cops.”
Redlich said in the handful of times they have used the card, it has never failed.
Florida Highway Patrol Spokesperson Sgt. Steve Gaskins, said, “The intent of DUI checkpoints is never to violate anyone’s rights. They are to manage traffic and pull drunk drivers off the road, potentially saving the driver or someone else’s life.”
According to legal analysts with FairDui.org, law enforcement officials cannot legally pull a person over without a reason, but they can legally follow a person if they suspect DUI in order to observe a person’s driving pattern.
Attorneys said displaying the sign is legal, but it cannot block a driver’s face from the view of an officer. Attorneys also say displaying the sign could draw unnecessary attention to a person.
Tampa DUI defense attorney, Elliott Wilcox, said, “It’s legal, but you draw attention to yourself. If you draw attention to yourself, you better be squeaky clean going through a checkpoint. Because otherwise, you give them another reason to pay attention to you. If you are not squeaky clean, that could be the worst thing that happens to you.”
On the bottom of a Florida driver license it reads, “Operation of a motor vehicle constitutes consent to any sobriety test required by law.” However, attorneys said being stopped at a DUI checkpoint is not the same thing as a sobriety test.
You can read more at http://fairdui.org/.
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