Some Floridians are keeping windows rolled up at DUI checkpoints
A South Florida lawyer has come up with a novel way for drivers to handle police drunk-driving checkpoints and posted a video about it that has gotten over 2 million Internet views. But how wise it it?
A Florida attorney has gained attention recently for distributing controversial fliers online that drivers can show police during traffic stops and checkpoints in order to avoid arrest for driving under the influence.
"It's a method for innocent people to protect themselves from a bad DUI arrest," attorney Warren Redlich, who is based in Boca Raton, told USA TODAY Network.
People are charged with DUIs after consuming an alcohol amount under the legal limit because police say they can smell alcohol on their breath or because an accent or speech pattern is interpreted as slurred speech, according to Redlich.
The Florida flier advises drivers stopped by police to keep their car windows rolled up and to hold the flier up so it's visible. It also tells them to display their license, registration and insurance to police through the window.
"Do not speak at all. Not one word. Record everything with audio and, if possible, video. Keep your hands where the officer can see them," it reads.
Redlich's method does not sit well with law enforcement officials who point out that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990 upheld the use of random DUI checkpoints, concluding they don't violate constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
"They wouldn't be allowed out of that checkpoint until they talk to us. We have a legitimate right to do it," Sheriff David Shoar of St. Johns County, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association, told the Associated Press in an interview.
However, Redlich and his associates have uploaded videos of their method online showing that the practice works. The most popular one was uploaded on Jan. 1 and has been watched more than 2 million times. In it, the police read the paperwork and allow the car to proceed through the checkpoint.
Redlich's website, fairdui.org, has fliers available for various states but said that he doesn't recommend anyone use them in places other than New York and Florida, where Redlich has practiced law, without talking to a lawyer first.
Redlich said he does not see what he is doing as aiding drunken drivers.
"(Drivers) have to remain silent, be patient," he said. "And you have to follow the instructions on the back of the card. Drunk people aren't good at those things."