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ESCOBAR AND ASSOCIATES ANNOUCEMENT REGARDING COVID-19

Escobar and Associates Attorneys at Law remains open during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Legal services are defined as “essential” within the Stay at Home Order executed by Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis. We remain committed to providing uninterrupted legal services to all clients. We also remain dedicated to the health and safety of our clients and staff. Within the office, our firm has already implemented protocols to keep clients and staff safe during this crisis. We understand as criminal defense attorneys how crucial it is for our attorneys and staff to remain available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide legal services for clients in need.

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DUI checkpoints: are they legal in Florida?

| Jul 9, 2021 | drunk driving

Every so often, usually before a holiday weekend, Tampa-area law enforcement agencies announce that they will be setting up DUI checkpoints. A lot of people get uncomfortable with the idea of the police stopping vehicles and looking for reasons to arrest the drivers. It seems to go against the principles that the Bill of Rights lays out. How are DUI checkpoints legal?

In this country, a police officer is not supposed to stop a driver unless they have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the motorist is committing a crime or has just done so. But there are exceptions to this law. And DUI checkpoints are one of those, at least in Florida. Many other states forbid checkpoints.

Officers must follow the rules

Courts allow DUI checkpoints as long as the police or sheriff’s department follows certain rules. These requirements include:

  • Officers at the checkpoint must follow a pre-determined procedure for deciding whom to pull over. This must be more than following a “hunch” or only pulling over drivers who “look suspicious.” Pulling over every third vehicle is an example of an acceptable procedure.
  • The traffic stops must be as brief as possible, and drivers cannot be detained without arrest for an unreasonable time.
  • The agency must post signs alerting drivers that a DUI checkpoint is ahead.
  • The checkpoint must be reasonable. For example, it cannot cause a large traffic backup.

From the perspective of someone arrested for DUI at a checkpoint, the consequence of the officers not following the rules might be getting the charges dropped. Criminal court judges tend to take these violations very seriously. If you and your defense attorney have evidence that the police did not follow proper procedures, the court could order evidence gathered at the checkpoint (such as the results of a breath test and field sobriety tests) thrown out.

  • Martindale-Hubbell | Top rated lawyer in Tampa | Richard Escobar | For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability | Martindale-Hubbell Top rated lawyer
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  • Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards | AV |AV Preeminent | Richard Escobar | 2016
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  • 10 Best 2018 | Richard Escobar | Client Satisfaction | American Institute Of Criminal Law Attorneys

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