A DUI checkpoint, also commonly called a sobriety checkpoint, is a location that is set up where law enforcement are stationed to inspect drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment. The legality of DUI checkpoints has been brought into question, and as a result, not all states permit these checkpoints. However, there are 38 states that have allowed these checkpoints, and Florida is one of them. A sobriety checkpoint is required to be operated under very specific guidelines.
Guidelines for DUI Checkpoints in the State of Florida
DUI, or sobriety checkpoints have been deemed legal in Florida as long as the checkpoint is operated under the guidelines. Throughout the entire state, 15-20 checkpoints are permitted per month, and the checkpoint location must be announced to the public. No profiling is allowed. Those that are pulled over must be selected randomly. If it is found that you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, you will be charged with DUI.
Methods for Checking for Intoxication
In order to check for signs of intoxication at DUI checkpoints, officers are permitted to use several processes. These include:
- Sobriety Tests: If it is suspected that you are intoxicated, you may be asked to perform a series of tests. These tests check your balance and ability to function normally.
- Blood-Alcohol level: You may be asked to take a breathalyzer. During this test, you will be asked to blow into a device to measure the amount of alcohol in your blood. You may be asked to "blow" in a roadside unit and then be tested again at the station on a larger, more accurate testing unit. If drug intoxication is suspected, you may be required to submit to a blood or urine test.
Penalties for a DUI in the State of Florida
The penalties for a DUI vary based upon the level of the offense.
- First Offense: Up to 1 year license suspension
- Second Offense: Up to 18 month license suspension and 10 days in jail
- Third Offense: Up to 18 month license suspension and 30 days in jail
You could also face fines and be required to serve community service, and there are many other consequences, including increased insurance rates and a compromised criminal record that will follow you wherever you go.
If you have been charged with a DUI in the Clearwater area, it is important that you find out if your case could be successfully defended. Contact Hilliard Law, P.L. to schedule a consultation.