Like most motorists on Florida roadways, you generally make it to your destination without seeing flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Even if you have to stop for police officers, you usually deal with the inconvenience and move along. If you have had too much to drink, though, a DUI checkpoint could put your future in jeopardy.
Florida lawmakers take drunk driving seriously. For a first-time offense, you may receive up to six months in jail. You could also receive a hefty fine. While never driving after your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit is a winning strategy for avoiding a DUI, behaving correctly at sobriety checkpoints may keep you out of trouble altogether. Here are a couple suggestions:
Show respect to the officer
Police officers have a tough job. Not only must they worry about their personal safety, but they also must work to avoid violating your fundamental rights. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires officers to have probable cause before they search your vehicle. Sobriety checkpoints, though, are an exception to this rule.
Therefore, approach the checkpoint slowly and reasonably. If you choose to take a random detour before the checkpoint, officers may assume you are illegally trying to avoid it. Further, try not to act too arrogantly at the checkpoint. If you do, an officer may take special care of you. That is not a good thing.
Try not to appear intoxicated
At a sobriety checkpoint, officers must quickly determine whether they think you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As such, they usually do not have much time for exhaustive questioning. To increase your chances of receiving a wave-through, behave like a sober person. Here are some ways sober drivers usually act:
- Look the officer in the eye.
- Do not fidget.
- Do not move erratically.
- Do not smell like alcohol or drugs.
You are in charge of your own life. Even though you work diligently not to drink and drive, life events may wreak havoc on your best efforts. If you find yourself approaching a sobriety checkpoint, you must act responsibly and cautiously to get through it without facing criminal charges. That said, it is always best to refrain from driving after drinking in the first place. Take a cab, or use a ride-sharing service instead.