According to Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore, technology, especially with regard to smartphone devices, is rapidly changing every part of our daily lives — including DUI enforcement. There are reportedly multiple applications available through the Apple store for download onto the iPhone that assist a user in avoiding police speed traps as well as DUI roadblocks (sobriety checkpoints). These applications generally involve data added by users, says Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William R. Moore. For instance, if a user is aware that the Broward Sheriff’s Office plans on erecting DUI roadblocks around the county this weekend, he can add the locations into the system, which show on a map.
Because the locations of DUI checkpoints must be publicized in advance anyway in accordance with the law, this is public information that is accessible to private citizens. Similarly, a motorist who regularly drives through a small town and is aware that the local law enforcement agency issues frequent tickets for speeding violations might map the location as a “speed trap.”
Today, several U.S. Senators sent a letter to Apple, Inc. to request that they remove Trapster and other iPhone apps from the Apple Store, as the applications allowed the users to identify the locations of DUI checkpoints. The Senators’ concern seems misplaced, however, as the roadblocks must be publicized well in advance. The publicity is required so as to minimize the inherently intrusive nature of the checkpoint and remain in compliance with the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures.
We have written extensively on this blog previously regarding the numerous problems associated with sobriety checkpoints. Though ostensibly erected in order to spot and prevent DUI, the DUI roadblocks are frequently tremendously effective revenue generators for police departments.
Law enforcement officers tend to issue numerous tickets and citations for a variety of offenses: driving while license suspended, no valid driver’s license, expired driver’s license, bad window tints (too dark), expired registration, tag not assigned to the vehicle, insurance violations, etc. The list goes on and on, but the DUI roadblocks tend to net very few drivers who are actually under the influence.
Broward County DUI Lawyer William Moore has studied DUI roadblocks, also known as sobriety checkpoints, extensively during his DUI defense career. Invariably billed as an effective device to keep drunk drivers off the road – and to make more DUI arrests – the sobriety checkpoints simply do not work to prevent DUI from happening, nor to actually catch those drivers who are committing the crime. Although law enforcement agencies in Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Lauderdale-Dade Counties, as well as anti-drunk driving organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving continue to tout the sobriety roadblocks as effective, the hard data is conclusive: roadblocks are effective at generating revenue, but not at preventing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
For example, Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore says that the Lake Worth police department in Broward County set up a DUI roadblock over the Fourth of July weekend, stopping drivers between 10:30 p.m. on Friday, July 3, and 1:00 a.m. on Saturday. The sobriety checkpoint netted a grand total of three arrests for DUI, which is probably an unusually high figure. Some roadblocks end with only a single arrest, for instance. The checkpoint did result in plenty of citations for other, generally less serious violations, however, including eight for driving with a suspended or revoked license, 14 for driving without a license, one for a child safety restraint, seven for adults not wearing their seat belts, 12 without proof of insurance, two drivers with improper equipment, and a variety of other non-criminal traffic violations. Notably, only a tiny fraction of problems police found were in any way related to the purported goal of DUI roadblocks: eliminating drunk driving on the streets of Broward County.
The reality is that sobriety checkpoints are a cash cow for police departments around the country. Law enforcement agencies look good to members of the community when they operate these checkpoints, as they are required to be publicized in advance and cracking down on DUI is a popular police goal. They are financially beneficial to the agencies because by directing traffic through the checkpoint, law enforcement officers can check the equipment, licenses, registration, and insurance of a high number of vehicles quickly – and issue more traffic tickets than they would otherwise be able to do.
Criminal defense studies have shown that the most effective crime deterrent is increasing the likelihood that criminals are caught. DUI checkpoints have little effect on this, as drivers must actually elect to go through them. Widespread police patrols are a more effective tool, cause less hassle for regular drivers, and do not implicate other police interests, such as the necessity of generating funds through citations.
Law enforcement agencies throughout Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Lauderdale-Dade Counties are expected to increase drunk driving patrols this weekend, says Broward DUI Defense Attorneys at William Moore Criminal Defense. This is typical of any major holiday celebration, as police officers often put up sobriety checkpoints throughout the areas on Labor Day, Memorial Day, and particularly New Year’s Eve. Long weekends also tend to draw more partying, both on the roads and on the water. The Miramar police department, among others, has announced its intention to hold a DUI checkpoint from 8:00 p.m. on July 3 through 3:00 a.m. on July 4.
Sobriety checkpoints are subject to a number of constitutional restraints, notes Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore. For example, they must provide an opportunity to turn around and they must be clearly marked and visible from an appropriate distance. Law enforcement officers cannot pick and choose which drivers they want to assess; instead, they must have a neutral mechanism in place, which is determined by a superior in advance, along the lines of checking every single car or every third car. DUI roadblocks must also be announced to the public in advance. Generally, these DUI checkpoints garner significant revenue in the form of non-criminal traffic citations, but very few DUI arrests.
Boating under the influence is another consideration for this Independence Day weekend celebration. Many people in Fort Lauderdale and greater Broward County take to the water to celebrate the summer holiday on their boats. Unfortunately, Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore has found that many are unaware of the consequences of drinking and boating – or even of the existence of a crime known as boating under the influence, or BUI. Boating under the influence is very similar to driving under the influence. A person who is operating or in actual physical control of a boat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or exceeding 0.08 percent can be convicted of the crime of BUI, if the act occurred in Florida waters.
Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore also reminds boaters to remember to follow the rules of the water, keep your boat properly licensed, and measure any lobsters caught to ensure compliance with local laws. Florida law enforcement officers will be patrolling the waterways as well as the streets to ensure that celebratory boaters are safe and following the letter of the law this weekend.
Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore is very knowledgeable about sobriety checkpoints, which are also known as DUI checkpoints. DUI checkpoints are roadblocks that law enforcement officials set up on public roads, usually on weekend nights or on holidays. New Year’s Eve is especially popular, due to the large number of people celebrating the holiday out on the town with plenty of champagne.
DUI roadblocks are not good tools for cracking down on driving under the influence, says Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore. The DUI checkpoints nab troublingly few motorists who are actually suspected of driving under the influence, however, which is just one serious problem with their usage. For example, a checkpoint in northern Florida last weekend caught one DUI suspect, yet stopped 700 sober drivers. That particular sobriety roadblock was probably more successful than many for nabbing even a single suspect.
In reality, says Broward County DUI attorney William Moore, the best reason for a roadblock is sheer profitability. Police departments can potentially issue hundreds of citations and dole out hefty fines for much more minor offenses: everything from seat belt violations to flawed car registration papers and recently expired drivers licenses. The law enforcement officers conducting the sobriety checkpoints must put into place certain protections for the benefit of the motorists and to prevent profiling. For example, the police force must have a predetermined and unbiased plan for which vehicles to stop, such as every third vehicle, every seventh, or every single one that passes through the roadblock.
Police departments must also advertise the existence of the roadblocks in advance. Frequently, they are publicized in the local newspaper, including the location. The roadblock must provide an alternate route of passage or a place to turn around – no driver is forced to go through the checkpoint, although the flashing lights and general environment can be intimidating, and many motorists may feel as though they would actually be drawing attention to themselves by obviously driving in a different direction.
The law governing DUI checkpoints is complex and each roadblock is required to abide by a number of rules in order for the stop to be constitutional. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence at a DUI roadblock, contact an experienced DUI lawyer immediately.