Illegal Florida DUI Checkpoint Leads to Dismissed Drunk Driving Charges

By N. Ryan LaBar | Criminal Defense Attorney
Published: 2012

Taking a firm stand against Florida driving under the influence charges can take many forms, from fighting breathalyzer results to challenging the results of field sobriety tests. A recent incident in the Tampa area reveals that the circumstances of a DUI checkpoint also provide a basis for criminal defense against a conviction for DUI.

As most drivers who are out on weekend nights are aware, DUI traffic stops are regularly conducted across the state by the Florida Highway Patrol, sheriff's deputies and local police departments. However, law enforcement must abide by rules to ensure that checkpoints are truly random and drivers' constitutional rights are not violated.

A Tampa TV news segment recently broke the news of an illegally operated checkpoint run by three levels of law enforcement. The problem: officers did not follow the operational plan that they must file before conducting any drunk driving checkpoint.

Operational plans are one way to ensure that officers do not target drivers by race or other outward manifestations of a person or vehicle's appearance. In this case, the officers were supposed to direct every third vehicle into the checkpoint for random field sobriety tests of the driver. But, video obtained by DUI defense lawyers from the squad cars showed that the officers were directing multiple vehicles at a time to the roadside.

While the discovery led to multiple drunk driving cases being dropped, one aspect of the case disturbed a DUI attorney who represented one of the drivers who had been charged. After the lawyer informed the Florida State Attorney's office, sworn affidavits were obtained from the officers stating that no irregularities had occurred. Fortunately, the video evidence cleared up the matter in the end.

Taking Aggressive Action Against Improper Drunk Driving Charges

In the aftermath of a DUI arrest, a thorough review of the circumstances behind the traffic stop and evidence of intoxication can help an accused driver clear his or her record. An officer's misapprehension of a driver's speech difficulties, coordination or other factors can lead to further sobriety checks and a spiral of misunderstanding.

Whether a motorist is accused of driving while under the influence (DUI) or driving with license suspended or revoked (DWLSR) after being stopped at a checkpoint, an assessment of the case may uncover factors that the driver did not consider. A Florida DUI attorney can explain a client's full range of legal options and consider whether challenging a drunk driving charge can lead to reduced charges or an outright dismissal. Call us today at 1-866-680-4LAW or fill out our online form located at the top of the page and we will contact you shortly. We respect your privacy and will keep all your information confidential.


Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney N. Ryan LaBar






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