Memorial Day Weekend and DUI Checkpoints
Our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that Memorial Day Weekend is one of the business times of year in South Florida, especially in terms of DUI accidents and arrests.
The increase in DUI arrests is not necessarily due to the increase in DUI-related incidents that take place during the holiday weekend; as we know, it’s during this weekend in particular that police departments throughout South Florida and throughout the country set-up DUI checkpoints to catch drunk drivers.
As we discussed earlier this year, though, many Floridians have been giving law enforcement officers difficulty at these checkpoints by providing the necessary information without giving police the opportunity to smell their breath or hear them speak. Whether or not these tactics will work during this DUI-crackdown weekend has yet to be seen.
As the Sun-Sentinel reported in a recent article, AAA has estimated that more than 37 million Americans will be traveling during this Memorial Day Weekend, with the vast majority (about 33 million) traveling by car. Additionally, and in that same article, it was revealed that Miami and Fort Lauderdale, two of the biggest cities in the South Florida area, are among the Top 10 destinations for travel this weekend. This means that South Florida, as a whole, will be incredibly busy, with people traveling from all over to celebrate in the Sunshine State.
High travel volume during Memorial Day Weekend means congested roadways filled with drunker-than-usual drivers. Because Memorial Day turns a late-May weekend into an extended weekend, and because this time of year already presents celebratory opportunities given the end of the school year, it’s no wonder that the Friday – Monday of Memorial Day Weekend are particularly dangerous on the roads. As Forbes calculated, Memorial Day is the third most dangerous holiday for drivers. For this reason, as our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers know, law enforcement officers around the country, and in South Florida in particular, are on the lookout for drunk (or seemingly inebriated) drivers.
According to the Miami New Times, the city of Miami Beach has already drawn up plans for how it intends to combat drunk driving. In addition to cutting off Ocean Drive to motor vehicles from early Friday morning through Tuesday morning, law enforcement officers will be making some communities only open to residents (you may be asked to show an ID) and will be setting up DUI checkpoints around the area. Law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for drunk drivers this weekend, employing a variety of traffic-related and non-traffic-related strategies.
Lastly, as we mentioned above and as we wrote about earlier this year, a significant number of Floridians made national headlines 5-6 months ago when a tactic they’d been using went viral after being filmed. When pulled over at a DUI checkpoint, for example, a man would slip a plastic bag through a crack in the window, showing the officer his license, insurance, registration, etc., but not giving the officer the chance to smell his breath or listen to potentially slurred speech (which the officer would be able to do if the window were fully rolled down). The way the law requiring cooperation with police officers is written, there may be some ambiguity to what exactly is required and whether or not slipping a license in a plastic bag through a crack in the window is sufficient in a DUI checkpoint circumstance. Our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers will be sure to pay attention to whether these tactics, or any others, make headlines this weekend.
We hope you enjoy this weekend with friends and family. Please stay safe. If you should need the services of a West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorney, please contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.