Florida Residents Carrying Cards for Checkpoints

A lawyer has advised Florida residents how to not talk to police at checkpoints—and how not to open one’s car window.

checkpoint ahead

Why not cooperate with a checkpoint? Go back and read about the artifact collector facing a possible decade in prison and the probable loss of his retirement income for one example.

Of course, you should cooperate with the police as much as is legally required. But how much is that? Here is one story from USA Today: “Some Floridians are keeping windows rolled up at DUI checkpoints.”

A Florida attorney has gained attention recently for distributing controversial fliers online that drivers can show police during traffic stops and checkpoints in order to avoid arrest for driving under the influence.

“It’s a method for innocent people to protect themselves from a bad DUI arrest,” attorney Warren Redlich, who is based in Boca Raton, told USA TODAY Network.

People are charged with DUIs after consuming an alcohol amount under the legal limit because police say they can smell alcohol on their breath or because an accent or speech pattern is interpreted as slurred speech, according to Redlich.

The Florida flier advises drivers stopped by police to keep their car windows rolled up and to hold the flier up so it’s visible. It also tells them to display their license, registration and insurance to police through the window.

“Do not speak at all. Not one word. Record everything with audio and, if possible, video. Keep your hands where the officer can see them,” it reads.

Redlich’s method does not sit well with law enforcement officials who point out that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990 upheld the use of random DUI checkpoints, concluding they don’t violate constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

[See also, “Drug War/Immigration Law Used To Legitimize Nazi Checkpoints: “Are Your Papers In Order?”]

The response that the Supreme Court upheld random DUI checkpoints is irrelevant. Redlich is not claiming the checkpoints are unconstitutional. He is simply advising people on how best to not fall victim to false accusations and other worse problems that police are capable of visiting upon non-police citizens. He is doing so using both Federal and state law (which is why non-Florida residents shouldn’t assume they can do the same exact thing in their state).

It is completely irrelevant what harm might come from people knowing and exercising their rights. Our rights are God-given, according to the Declaration of Independence, and place limits on what others may do to us even for a good cause. And if the law specifies what we don’t have to do at checkpoints, then it is our right to not do those things.

Personally, I’ve always followed a strategy of submission in order to avoid trouble. I don’t plan to change my practice yet. But this is plainly a legal way to handle checkpoint situations.

If you have time, here is a lawyer explaining why talking to the police is a bad idea.