Sobriety checkpoints have always been controversial with questions as to whether or not they constitute unfair search and seizure usually at the forefront of the debate. Now, many drivers in the state of Florida are standing up to them in a way that’s never been seen.
They’re using something called the “DUI Flyer,” a note that reads, “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer,” according to the Washington Post. Made specifically for Florida, the flyer also asks that officers place any tickets on their windshields.
So how does it work?
The flyer itself is placed in a clear plastic bag that also features the driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. The driver hangs it from a thread through their driver’s side window and rolls the window up upon entering the checkpoint so that it’s hanging out with the window closed – all while visible and accessible for the officer to see.
In a YouTube video shot around New Year’s Eve, three drivers used the tactic and successfully passed through a DUI checkpoint without having to roll their windows down as officers briefly examined the fliers and corresponding identification, then waved them through. The video has already received over 2 million views and more drivers are using the idea when proceeding through checkpoints.
“People don’t realize that innocent people get arrested for drunk driving. It happens a lot,” stated Warren Redlich, a Florida attorney who is behind the strategy, via a report from the Associated Press. Meanwhile, Redlich has made additional DUI flyers that are specific to other states.
Redlich and the tactic’s backers maintain that if cops are able have drivers roll their windows down, then they can judge whether to pursue a DUI charge based on the driver’s speech and behavior. However, the DUI Flyer removes that from the process.
Florida law itself seems to state that drivers must simply show their identification to law enforcement if pulled over, but doesn’t specifically discuss anything about them actually having to physically hand it to the officer through their car window – something that appears to make the DUI Flyer legal in most cases, at least in Florida. Despite that, law enforcement in the state isn’t buying it.
“They wouldn’t be allowed out of that checkpoint until they talk to us. We have a legitimate right to do it,” stated Florida Sheriff David Shoar in comments made available through the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, it’s anyone’s guess how successful this tactic will ultimately prove. A good bet, however, is that there’s a high chance it could end up being decided by the courts. Sobriety checkpoints are legal in most states except Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, and a handful of others.