Fourth of July DUI Checkpoints: What You Need to Know
America’s Independence Day celebrations account for nearly half of all DUI deaths each year. In fact, the Fourth of July sells more beer than any other holiday. To protect drivers, law enforcement agencies throughout Orlando routinely set up DUI checkpoints in the leading up to and including July Fourth.
In 2016, dozens of law enforcement agencies cooperated in setting up a county-wide DUI patrol operation in Orange County. The holiday fell on a Monday, which means celebrations took place over a long weekend. Agencies included the Orlando Police Department, Winter Park Police Department, University of Central Florida Police Department and Maitland Police Department. The primary objective of DUI checkpoints is to educate drivers and take DUI suspects off the road to reduce DUI-induced accidents and fatalities.
Although Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year, there’s no telling how aggressively law enforcement will pursue intoxicated drivers in Central Florida. Typically, police officers on DUI duty are extra vigilant about drivers’ behavior and patterns behind the wheel. A simple swerve could catch the attention of an officer thirsty for action.
Should you approach a DUI checkpoint, it helps to be prepared ahead of time with information about your rights.
Your Rights at a DUI Checkpoint
It’s important to remember that at any traffic stop, police do not have the right to check your car unless they have probable cause to do so or you consent to a search. In some cases, police might check your car without your permission. You should make it known whether or not they have your consent at any time.
The law does not require you to answer police questions during any encounter with police. Aside from the information necessary to identify you, you do not have to answer inquiries into where you have been, where you are headed, if you’ve been drinking, how many drinks you have had, or any other questions that seek potentially incriminating information.
If the officer requests a breath test, you have the right to refuse it. Doing so will likely lead to field sobriety tests, which you may also decline. The important thing to keep in mind should the police encounter reach this point is that the more you refuse police requests, the more suspicious you may appear to the officer. He may take one of two actions if you reject the exams: set you free or take you into custody.
An arrest at a DUI checkpoint does not always lead to a conviction. With the right DUI lawyer in Orlando by your side, you could move past this hiccup in your life. At the Umansky Law Firm, our attorneys hold over 100 years of combined experience defending DUI charges. Call our office to discuss your case for free or contact us.