Facing a DUI charge can be frightening. This may be your first run in with the law, and facing the criminal justice can be a terrifying experience because you have never done so before.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on Halloween night during the years 2015-2019, 126 people were killed in DUI accidents. Moreover, drunk drivers operating vehicles with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher are responsible for 38% of deaths on Halloween night.
With so many fatalities resulting from drivers operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs on Halloween night, it is much more common nowadays to see local police setting up more DUI checkpoints to scout any drunk drivers.
A DUI can be quite costly, as well. For first-time offenders, a DUI conviction can run you well over $10,000 with fines and legal fees.
What Happens at DUI Checkpoints?
If you are approaching a DUI checkpoint, you will know it. You will see a warning sign telling you there is a roadblock ahead, there may be a line of cars, and there will be flashing lights from police cars. It is legal to turn around before you stop at a DUI checkpoint, but you cannot break any traffic laws trying to do so, such as making an illegal U-turn. If you do violate any traffic laws, then you can bet that police will notice. Once you are at a checkpoint, police can do the following:
- Stop your vehicle and ask you questions (you always have the right to remain silent)
- Ask to see your driver’s license and insurance information
- Check for any signs of drug or alcohol use
- Ask you to perform a field sobriety test
- Ask you to submit to a drug swab or even a breathalyzer
While being pulled over by police can be nerve-wracking, it is helpful to answer or refuse any questions in a polite way so that the situation does not escalate.
What if I Refuse Breath or Chemical Tests at a Florida DUI Checkpoint?
Under Florida’s implied consent law, you automatically consent to certain impaired driving tests when you register for a driver’s license. If you refuse a Breathalyzer test in Florida, this is classified as a misdemeanor offense if you have a previous refusal on your record. A first-time refusal carries consequences of a 12-month driver’s license suspension. If you have a previous refusal, your driver’s license can be suspended for 18 months. Additional penalties can apply if you are convicted of DUI.
Have a Happy Halloween
Halloween can be a fun and spooky time, just do not make any decisions that could haunt you. Get a plan together before attending any parties or hitting the bars, so that you can avoid impaired driving altogether. You have options, such as selecting a designated driver, having a sober friend or family member pick you up, and using Uber, Lyft, a taxi, or public transportation.
Another tip: do not have open alcohol cups, cans, or bottles in your car as you could be charged under open-container laws.
Our Florida DUI Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you to enjoy your Halloween weekend. We encourage you to make smart choices and not forget your rights, especially at DUI checkpoints. If you are charged with drunk driving this Halloween, then please call us at 866-608-5529 or contact us online to request a free consultation. We will be available 24/7 to assist with bail arrangements and other conditions of your release.