Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
FREE Consultations Available
Tampa Car Accident Lawyers > Blog > DUI > Seven DUI Checkpoint Requirements in Florida

Seven DUI Checkpoint Requirements in Florida


After years of inconsistency and uncertainty, the United States Supreme Court finally legalized DUI roadblocks in Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz. These checkpoints allow officers to bypass the Fourth Amendment and detain motorists even though there is no evidence they have done anything wrong.

In exchange for such broad power, police checkpoints must meet rigorous standards. If they fail in even one area, no matter how seemingly insignificant, a Tampa DUI lawyer may be able to invalidate the stop and arrest, thereby beating the whole case.

Drivers have rights at checkpoints. Specifically, they have the right to remain silent. They must comply with order to stop their vehicles and produce certain documents for inspection. But they do not have to answer any questions. In fact, they do not even have to roll down their windows.

Supervisor Initiative

Only police supervisors can authorize checkpoints. Officers on the street, even if they are corporals or have some departmental authority, are not supervisors. A desk sergeant is probably not a supervisor either. Only the police chief, and perhaps a captain, are supervisors in this context.

Pre-Checkpoint Publicity

The department must advertise the checkpoint in such a way that it gives motorists the chance to completely avoid the area. A posting on the department’s Facebook page the day before the checkpoint is probably insufficient both in terms of the advertising platform and the lead time. Facebook posts do not reach enough people and a few hours is not enough advance notice.

Reasonable Operation

Usually, this requirement pertains to the hours of operation. Officers cannot operate a checkpoint for several consecutive days. Quota checkpoints are illegal as well. Police cannot keep the checkpoint open until it nets a certain number of DUI arrests.

Sufficient Signage

The checkpoint must clearly indicate its official nature. The signs should also tell motorists what to do, like “Slow Down and Prepare to Stop” and “Have Drivers’ License and Proof of Insurance Ready.”

Adequate Safety Precautions

If left to their own devices, officers would probably set up checkpoints on freeways. But such roadblocks are unsafe. These checkpoints must put safety first and law enforcement interests second. They must be well-lit, well-staffed, and in relatively safe areas.

Minimal Detention Time

As a rule of thumb, checkpoint wait time cannot exceed twenty or thirty seconds. That includes the time that drivers spend in line as well as the time spent at the actual checkpoint.

Neutral Formula

Officers cannot randomly pull over people who “do not look right.” Instead, officers must follow a neutral formula. For example, they might stop every third vehicle and wave the other two through. Such a setup keeps traffic flowing so the checkpoint does not run afoul of the “minimal detention” requirement discussed above.

Connect with Assertive Lawyers

DUI checkpoint mistakes may invalidate the arrest. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Home and jail visits are available.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

The experience you need in your pursuit of justice

The greatest distinguishing feature among attorneys is their level of experience. Our firm has more than 60 years of legal experience, much of it spent in the courtroom at trial. As a result, our Tampa personal injury lawyers rarely encounter an unfamiliar situation and can thoroughly answer your urgent questions. Our criminal defense practice features a board certified criminal trial lawyer and two former prosecutors with impressive knowledge of trial tactics and procedures.

The resources to provide quality representation for the length of your case

Whether your case involves medical malpractice, an auto accident or a wrongful death, your attorney must be prepared to take the case all the way through trial to verdict. Many personal injury attorneys advance the cost of litigation, so they can only last so long before financial pressures start to mount. As a client, you have to wonder whether an attorney's advice to settle your case reflects the quality of the offer or your attorneys need to get paid. Fortunately, The Matassini Law Firm has the resources to pursue civil verdicts and settlements that reflect the actual value of your case.

Call our Tampa Bay car accident lawyers for a free consultation

A crisis in your life calls for capable and compassionate assistance. The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. addresses your needs all the way through the legal process. For your free initial confidential conference with one of our Tampa car accident attorneys, call us today at 813-217-5715 or contact us online.

Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Toll Free
2811 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, Florida 33609