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Do DUI checkpoints violate my Fourth Amendment rights?

Each state maintains its own laws determining how and why police may stop a driver, and DUI checkpoints regularly come under scrutiny as violations of certain constitutional rights, specifically those outlined in the Fourth Amendment.

While Florida does allow police to perform DUI checkpoints, some states do not give their police this right, or greatly regulate it. However, even though we do face legal DUI checkpoints here in the Sunshine State, there are some potential violations of personal rights that a court may consider.

While it is legal for police to stop and question a driver at a DUI checkpoint, if the stop continues into an unwarranted search of the driver or the vehicle, this may stretch beyond the boundaries of what the law allows. In general, in order to search a vehicle, police must have either a warrant, probable cause based on present evidence, or the permission of the driver.

If the driver does not consent to the search, and the officer does not have probable cause, then the fact that the search took place in conjunction with a DUI checkpoint may not prove relevant to the court. In fact, courts often push back on these kinds of practices. Here in Florida, the law often favors individual rights, so framing an objection to a search within these terms is sometimes very effective in seeing any resulting charges dismissed or diminished.

If you believe ether your Fourth Amendment rights were violated during a DUI checkpoint, or if an aspect of the stop was not within proper procedures, be sure to carefully consider your next legal actions. Even if you believe that the case against you is strong, it is never wise to simply accept charges without building a strong defense to protect your rights and privileges.

Source: FindLaw, "Are DUI Checkpoints Legal?," accessed March 23, 2018

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