One Florida attorney says drivers are not required to speak to police at sobriety checkpoints in the state, and he believes he has devised a way to legally prevent police from questioning them.
The Associated Press reports Boca Raton-based attorney Warren Redlich believes the checkpoints are unconstitutional and he and an associate have put together a website, complete with videos, detailing how drivers can drive away from the roadside stops without talking to the police.
It’s simple, really. Redlich says drivers need only hold up a card that reads: “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer.” The driver should then crack the car window and slide out his or her driver’s license and insurance card.
One video, posted on the Internet, shows Redlich’s associate doing just that and being waved through a checkpoint. It has received over 2 million views.
But some state law enforcement officials say that won’t always work. Sheriff David Shoar of St. Johns County, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association, is one of them.
“They wouldn't be allowed out of that checkpoint until they talk to us," Shoar told the AP. "We have a legitimate right to do it. If I was out there, I wouldn't wave them through. I want to talk to that person more now.”
Other officials pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of random DUI checkpoints in 1990, saying they don’t violate constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
Redlich, who handles a lot of DUI cases, says the card is not proof that the driver is doing, or has done, anything wrong.
“The point of the card is, you are affirmatively asserting your rights without having to speak to the police and without opening your window,” he said.
Without opening the window and speaking, officers can’t smell the driver’s breath or listen for slurred speech.
But Redlich said his tactic was not designed to protect drunk drivers, it was designed to protect the innocent.
“People don’t realize that innocent people get arrested for drunk driving; it happens a lot,” he recently told The Washington Post.
He told the AP he has had many clients who passed a breath-alcohol test but were arrested anyway because the officer claimed to have smelled alcohol or heard slurred speech.
Redlich insists that his method for circumventing the checkpoints is legal and his goal is not to create confrontations with police officers.
“I'm not anti-cop," he said. "I'm anti-bad government and anti-bad cop. I support good cops. I would like if police didn't waste their time with something like checkpoints and would focus their attention on violent crime.”