There is an interesting story out of Florida that shows that, at a typical sobriety roadblock, police arrested 10 people and wrote tickets for 100 others — for virtually every type of traffic violation except DUI. What is fascinating is the comparison to the recent D.C. Circuit ruling finding general crime roadblocks to be unconstitutional. Yet, by calling a roadblock a sobriety checkpoint, you can accomplish the same result.
The Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints are largely unique and have allowed stops without reasonable suspicion to fight drunk driving. In Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz (1990), the United States Supreme Court voted 6-3 that sobriety checkpoints can be constitutional.
The Court has also ruled out such stops for narcotic checks. In City of Indianapolis v. Edmond, the Court voted 6-3 that a narcotic checkpoint was unconstitutional and indistinguishable from general crime control. Yet, take a look at the number from this typical roadblock which stopped 1,131 vehicles:
–Two arrested on outstanding warrants.
— Seven arrested on felony charges, including six on drug-related charges.
— One arrested for misdemeanor drugs.
— 104 traffic citations issued.
— 10 faulty equipment warnings were issued.
— 10 warnings were issued.
State courts have found roadblocks to check registrations etc to be unconstitutional, here.
For the full story, click here.
17 thoughts on “Florida Sobriety Roadblock Produces Host of Arrests and Citations — Except for DUI”
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The standard for citation here should be the same as under a search warrant.
The reason for the stops was for DUI, and that is what the citations should be constrained to.
It is obvious that by just folding a taco differently you can call it a burrito; by calling a general roadblock a DUI roadblock should not permit mission creep, and give it anymore authority than a general roadblock.
Law enforcement is a business.
No you can’t be arrested if you refuse, Remember always your Miranda rights. You have those rights always not just because your under arrest. Read them. When I’ve been pulled over and thought it was unjust I would recite it to the officer as soon as I would exit my vehicle and the typical response is your not under arrest and I would say I know but those are my rights now what can I do for you sir.
My Queen If you refuse he then will tell you he will have the K-9 officer walk the dog around your vehicle. If the dog alerts, he then has probable cause or claims he has. Thats how it works. The problem is this, false positives from the animal, in which the officer can say, you may not have drugs in the car now but at one time there were drugs in this car. You may not be the original owner, but this is how it works.
What happens if a driver refuses the officer’s request to search the car? Can the person be arrested (or just carted off) for failing to comply with the request? Can the vehicle be impounded?
The DUI test is another sham. Be more than happy to tell you how that one works. They give it so that they have a reason to administer the breathalyzer test.
They have to have a reason to stop a motorist. Florida has now passed legislation starting July 1st taking the seatbelt law from a non moving violation to a moving one, meaning they can now stop you if spotted not wearing it. However emergency personnel or drivers who enter or exit a vehicle often are exempt. ie taxi cab, limo driver, letter carriers ect. ect. However once the stop is made again the last question is always asked in one form or the other. You don’t mind if I search your vehicle do you? similar to when they say you don’t have any guns weapons knives or needles on you that might harm me. They are trying to solicit info voluntarily. Makes a conviction easier.
I would expect this kind of overbroad roadblock to happen in Texas, but Florida is just about as crazy as Texas is. Here in Illinois the police will set up “seatbelt enforcement areas” where one police office stands up the road and watches for non-seatbelt use and he/she radio’s ahead to the posse a few hundred feet away. I have not seen any figures as to how many non-seatbelt infractions are written during these temporary crackdowns.
Has anyone filed a motion to dismiss or suppress due to illegal stop yet?
Back in the mid eighties a sheriff in Volusia county Florida came up with a list of what to look for when spotting drug runners on I-95. One was that they drive the speed limit or under when everyone else is speeding. Another was race. So if you were black and driving the speed limit you were almost certain to get pulled over. When this list was circulated record amounts of cash and drugs were being confiscated. If it was just cash and over $10k and you didn’t have an explantion for the money they took it. Lowdnes County Georgia was the sister of Volusia county Florida. Record seizures using the same profiling list.
What blacks did to confront this was to travel in 3-4 car groups at a time. They could not be singled out and an officer could not come up with a blanket traffic violation for the group, after all once the officer made up his mind he wanted to go after someone who met the list he still had to have a reason to make the stop in the first place.
Here’s what happens and I am speaking from expierence. After the officer, no matter what state, goes thru the motion he will then ask for a consent to search the vehicle. If you refuse he then will tell you he will have the K-9 officer walk the dog around your vehicle. If the dog alerts, he then has probable cause or claims he has. Thats how it works. The problem is this, false positives from the animal, in which the officer can say, you may not have drugs in the car now but at one time there were drugs in this car. You may not be the original owner, but this is how it works.
Of the 1131 vehicles, what percent were asked to submit to a search of the vehicle or person? How were drugs found? Can they use drug dogs at such checkpoints?
Makes you want to visit Florida, doesn’t it?
Well Texas can not have all of the stupid people on Office. I know we try but by the sheer number of people in the world some other state has to have at least one idiot in charge.
From one extreme to another:
“Man’s Neck Broken During Attempt To Swallow Drugs In Traffic Stop (VIDEO)”
Leave it up to my home state. This is where the debate started about racial profiling.
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