Over the past couple years, a video has surfaced over and over of a man in Florida coming up to a DUI checkpoint, then presenting his license, insurance card and registration in a resealable plastic bag. Also in the bag is a card that states, “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer. Please put any tickets under windshield wiper.” In the video (which has since been removed from YouTube), he seems to get through the checkpoint just fine.
Though the original video is gone, the man responsible, an attorney named Warren Redlich, is encouraging others to use his Fair DUI Flyer. While this seems like a great plan, is it really the get-out-of-jail-free card Redlich says it is? Further, would such a card work for a Pennsylvania DUI checkpoint?
Your Constitutional Rights
DUI checkpoints are set up every now and again by state and local police to catch drunk drivers. Often, they are set up around holidays and other times when more people would be prone to drinking and driving. Arguments have been made that such checkpoints are unconstitutional. After all, the police technically have no reason to pull you over, or search you or your car. As such, checkpoints seem to go against the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unwarranted search and seizure.
However, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that such checkpoints are not, in fact, unconstitutional. Though they do technically violate the Fourth Amendment, the threat drunk drivers pose to other motorists creates an exception to the rule. While 11 states outlawed checkpoints after this ruling, the other 39 — including Pennsylvania — still allow them.
Using a Fair DUI Flyer
A Fair DUI Flyer does present police officers with the information they need to conduct their stop without making physical contact with the driver. However, there are ways around that. Police can say a driver has broken any number of minor traffic rules. When they do, the officer can write a ticket, which the driver has to sign. Now, not only has the officer been able to make contact anyway, but the driver also has a ticket to deal with.
Redlich dealt with this issue shortly after his first video went viral in early 2015:
It is similar to trying to evade a checkpoint altogether. They are usually set up in such a way that trying to get around it is only possible if you break the law, like making an illegal turn. Further, if you refuse to comply with the officer (an argument for which can be made when using a Fair DUI Flyer), they have the right to detain you as needed.
What Should I Do?
If you come across a DUI checkpoint, your best bet is to simply comply with the officer. Roll down your window, answer their questions and be on your way. The police officers are just doing their job and trying to protect other motorists. If you have chosen to drink and drive, there’s a good chance you will be caught anyway.
If you are arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania, be sure to get legal representation as soon as possible. Contact Steven E. Kellis for a free case evaluation.