Florida DUI Attorney Challenges DUI Checkpoint

September 14, 2009

NAPLES, Fla., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Florida DUI Attorneys for John Musca auspiciously challenged a Cape Coral DUI Checkpoint, where their client had been arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

After returning from having dinner with his wife, the client had been stopped at a checkpoint which was within four buildings from his home. He was then asked if he had anything to drink, where he acknowledged that he had some wine with dinner. He was then detained and asked to engage in a field sobriety check to include a breathalyzer. The client, a 76 year old with a hearing impairment, was unable to pass the field test due to his inability to balance. The breath analysis test indicated that the results were a .074. After being placed under arrest and transported to the Lee County Jail pending DUI charges, Attorneys for Musca Law were retained by the client.

Being stopped and searched arbitrarily is a celebrated practice amidst the Florida Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies. DUI checkpoints are a tool used to tighten the grip of those driving while under the influence of alcohol. However, there is a fine line between legitimate concern for public safety and infringing upon the fourth amendment rights of the people.

The state of Florida concedes that DUI checkpoints are constitutional and valid. The Supreme Court acknowledges that DUI checkpoints do in fact constitute a “seizure” relative to the Fourth Amendment yet are constitutionally acceptable with evident effectiveness and minimal intrusion. Hence the three minute rule where every vehicle that enters a designated checkpoint site cannot be detained in traffic for more than three minutes. In the event of exceeding the three minute time allowed, the officer in charge must temporarily suspend the diversion of vehicles into the checkpoint lanes and begin a systematic selection of vehicles to be stopped at the discretion of the checkpoint commander. Vehicles will then proceed back into the checkpoint lanes when the period becomes less than three minutes.

The Florida Highway Patrol and local police departments promulgate a policy manual that dictates how DUI checkpoints must be conducted. Assuming that these policies meet with constitutional muster, the police must adhere to the guidelines when engaging in a DUI checkpoint operation. Attorney Musca noted that the checkpoint operational plan used in this case did not pass the constitutional muster in that the inquiry and further detention of the drivers who entered the checkpoint were left to the unbridled discretion of the officer, and that the vehicle selection procedure was left to the discretion of the field officer.

Attorneys for Musca Law utilized every possible avenue of defense. After reviewing the discovery a problem was recognized with the checkpoint procedures resulting in not having to file a Motion to Suppress as the State dropped the charges against the client.

For further information about DUI Attorney John Musca visit www.muscalaw.com, where you can review the firms current case list and successes, and obtain legal information. Musca Law is a full service criminal defense firm serving clients throughout the state of Florida.

SOURCE Musca Law

Source: newswire

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