Is The “Fair DUI Flyer” Really A Good Idea?
The Fair DUI Flyer concept was started by Warren Redlich, a Florida criminal defense attorney, in response to the DUI checkpoint. The flyer is a leaflet that you display against the driver’s side window, without rolling down the window, advising officers that you will not answer questions, will not consent to a search of your vehicle and want your attorney. Redlich added certain other advisements that he claims adhere to Florida law including not signing anything or providing a driver’s license. To those organizations fighting drunk driving like MADD or SADD, the flyer is a bad idea and not only circumvents established law but protects impaired drivers.
A DUI checkpoint is a legal maneuver, sanctioned by the US Supreme Court, whereby police can set up a roadblock to check for suspected impaired drivers. The stop has to be brief and police must follow certain established guidelines so that the intrusive nature of the stop is minimized. Ordinarily, police cannot detain you and your car unless they have probable cause such as observing erratic driving behavior, the commission of a traffic violation or noting an equipment violation.
Your Rights if Stopped for DUI
Not all states allow DUI checkpoints under their own state constitutions or its interpretation of the 4th Amendment’s bar against unreasonable search and seizure but 38 states do. The usual process is that you come upon a line of cars stopped by police at a roadblock, though which cars are stopped must be predetermined unless the car has an equipment malfunction or the motorist is behaving oddly. The officer will ask you to roll down your window and ask if you have been drinking or some other question. You are asked to provide your driver’s license and registration. If the officer notes you are exhibiting slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, have admitted to drinking or appear fumbling and confused, then a further detention and investigation will ensue.
Mr. Redlich, like many others, believes the DUI checkpoint is intrusive regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling and that the flyer only reminds the officers that the motorist has certain constitutional rights including the right to remain silent. To be sure, you do have certain rights if stopped by police:
- You do not have to answer any questions
- You do not have to consent to a search of your car
- You do not have to perform any coordination or field sobriety tests
- You do not have to blow into a PAS or preliminary alcohol screening test
The law does obligate you to show your driver’s license, registration and insurance information. Under Florida law, Redlich asserts that you are not required to show your license unless certain conditions are present and being stopped at a DUI roadblock is not one of them though police and prosecutors vigorously disagree with his interpretation.
What Happens if I Display the Flyer?
There is no good answer as to what will happen if you do display the flyer though you may raise the ire of the officer who is checking you and your car. Officers can either just wave you through or ask that you roll down your window and show your license and registration and they are within their rights to do so. If you refuse, it is likely you will be asked to pull over and, at the very least, issued a ticket for not having a license, registration or insurance and risk impoundment of your car. If you decide to produce them, the officer may or may not accept them. If not, you will have to appear in court and show proof.
Officers should respect your rights to remain silent and to not perform any coordination tests if they have probable cause to believe you are impaired but they will ask you to submit to a chemical test of your blood or breath if you are suspected of impairment. If you refuse, you risk automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a year with no restricted license available. Your refusal can also be used against you in criminal court as a presumption of guilt for driving impaired.
You can challenge the constitutionality of the DUI checkpoint by asserting that law enforcement failed to follow certain guidelines in setting up the roadblock and in how it was administered. You will need to be represented by a knowledgeable and experienced DUI defense attorney in these matters. You can also argue that the police lacked probable cause to arrest you for DUI though it will be your word against theirs.
So is the Fair DUI Flyer a good idea? The best idea is not to drink and drive at all, but at least knowing in advance what your rights are could save you in a close case if you are charged with DUI.
Avoiding California DUI Checkpoints
If you would rather avoid a DUI checkpoint all together, please read our “Tricks and Tips for Dodging a DUI Checkpoint” blog. If you have any questions about this article, do not hesitate to contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Gastelum Law. We are happy to help.