Now that New Year’s Eve is only a couple of days away, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expects this to be one of the deadliest weeks of the year on the roads.
To combat this, law enforcement is considering a new weapon in their fight against drunk driving.
And it’s a change that could substantially increase the State’s likelihood to obtain a DUI conviction.
“I think it’s a great deterrent for people,” said Linda Unfried, from Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in Hillsborough County.
Florida is among several states now holding what are called “No Refusal” DUI Checkpoints.
So, what does this mean for you as you head out to enjoy your Holiday Season?
It means if you refuse to submit to a breath test during a traffic stop, an on-site Judge can issue a search warrant allowing the police to take an involuntary blood sample (by using actual force, if necessary).
According to WTSP.com 10 News, It’s already being done in several counties, and now Unfried is working to bring it to the Tampa Bay area.
“I think you’ll see the difference because people will not drink and drive. I truly believe that,” she said.
However, not everyone agrees with Unfried about “No Refusal” DUI Checkpoints.
“It’s a slippery slope and it’s got to stop somewhere,” says local DUI defense attorney Kevin Hayslett. He asks “what other misdemeanor offense do we have in the United States where the government can forcefully put a needle into your arm?”
The Federal government says Florida has among the highest rates of breathalyzer refusal.
“Now you’ve got attorneys telling their clients, don’t blow, don’t blow! Because we know from the results from these machines that they’re not operating as the State or the government says they’re supposed to operate,” said Stephen Daniels, a local DUI consultant and DUI expert witness.
“We don’t want to violate people’s civil rights. That’s the last thing we want to do, but we’re here to save lives,” Unfried said.
She adds that this type of checkpoint would be heavily advertised, with the goal of deterring any drunk driving.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has recently said he wants to see more states hold similar programs.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI or any other Traffic Offense this Holiday Season, the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. is on your side. Former State of Florida DUI Manslaughter Prosecutor Nicholas J. Dorsten will be available 24/7 this Holiday Season to assist his clients.
For more information about your DUI defense, please contact the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. at 727.286.6141. You can also email Nicholas at: firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of all of us at the Blake & Dorsten, P.A., have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season.