This year the Florida Highway Patrol has joined thousands of other law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation by participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign that started Aug. 17 and continues through Sept. 3.
The campaign is designed to remove impaired drivers from Florida’s roads in an effort to save lives. FHP claims they will aggressively be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers during the crackdown.
The campaign covers the Labor Day holiday weekend, which begins Aug. 31 – Sept. 3. During this time, all uniformed FHP personnel will patrol interstates and other major roads.
Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over is conducted in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and focuses on deterring impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel of a car by merging high-visibility enforcement with increased public awareness.
In the past, Labor Day weekend has been a dangerous time on roadways across the United States. In 2010, a total of 147 people across the nation were killed in DUI-related accidents over Labor Day weekend. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 15 fatalities occurred throughout Florida over the Labor Day holiday in 2010.
Due to amped up efforts to catch drunk drivers this Labor Day weekend, it is important to familiarize yourself with what to expect if you encounter a DUI checkpoint over the holiday. When you enter a checkpoint, an officer will either stop you or signal you to pass through the checkpoint. In general, when you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, it is very similar to a normal traffic stop. The officer will ask for you to roll your window down and then proceed to request your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. The officer will look for signs of impairment, including bloodshot eyes, slurred speech or the smell of alcohol on your breath.
If the officer suspects you may have been drinking, he or she may ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests. This, however, is a request, an option, you are not required by any Florida law to complete these field exercises. These tests may include the following:
• Following a light with your eyes while keeping your head and neck still
• Standing on one leg
• Walking in a straight line
If the officer believes you did not successfully complete these tasks, you may be arrested on suspicion of driving drunk. You may also be asked to take a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test measures your blood alcohol content (BAC). Failure to perform this test when asked may result in the immediate suspension of your Florida driver’s license.
If the police at a DUI checkpoint arrest you for DUI, you will need to contact a Florida DUI attorney to help you understand your legal rights and options. The penalties associated with a DUI are severe, so it is important to act fast in order to receive the most favorable outcome.
If you are arrested this Labor Day weekend for DUI anywhere in the state of Florida, contact the Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or call us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).