Florida-based attorney Warren Redlich has attracted the attention of police and motorists alike due to a series of flyers he created to provide an option for drivers objecting to procedures at sobriety checkpoints.
At sobriety checkpoints, drivers are typically expected to roll their window down and provide their license and other documents. Redlich has created fliers for residents in ten states- New York, Florida, California, New Jersey, Ohio, Arkansas, Utah, Texas, Georgia and South Carolina- that drivers would place on their window. According to FairDUI.org, the website that provides the fliers for downloading and printing, “the idea behind the flyer is that you keep it in your car and show it to police at checkpoints and traffic stops.”
The front sides of the fliers read “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer” and proceed to cite state laws that lead to the claim that there’s no need to roll the window down, verbally communicate with police, or physically hand over any documents. The Florida flier, for example, cites a state statute that requires drivers to “display” their license to police “upon the demand of a law enforcement officer or an authorized representative of the department.” The other nine fliers also provide state-specific laws on the fliers pointing out that the language of the laws do not mention requiring the physical transfer of documents from one hand into another.
The back sides of the fliers instruct drivers to keep their window closed, remain completely silent, and record the encounter.
A Youtube video published on January 1st shows motorist Jeff Gray as he uses Redlich’s flier in lieu of talking to police during a sobriety checkpoint on New Year’s Eve in Chiefland, Florida:
Gray placed his license, registration and proof of insurance in a plastic bag and attached it to a string held in place by the car’s window. Gray stopped his vehicle at the checkpoint, and appears to have been cleared to leave without incident.
Redlich told USA Today that the fliers are “a method for innocent people to protect themselves from a bad DUI arrest.” Despite Gray’s success in avoiding being challenged by police at the checkpoint in Chiefland, law enforcement officials have said that this strategy isn’t legitimate. “He was allowed to proceed because he clearly was not driving while intoxicated,” Veda Coleman-Wright, the Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said regarding Gray’s encounter at the checkpoint. “If those officers had reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver was impaired, they would have investigated further.”
“They wouldn’t be allowed out of that checkpoint until they talk to us. We have a legitimate right to do it,” said Sheriff David Shoar, St. Johns County president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “If I was out there, I wouldn’t wave them through. I want to talk to that person more now.”
Garrett Berman from Florida’s Traffic Safety Resource division said the laws have changed. “It changed from displaying their license to actually present or submit the license to the officer,” Berman said. “The whole process is actually streamlined to take 30-45 seconds. The problem is when you put that display up; you’re actually going out of your way to delay that detainment.”
Law enforcement officials noted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that random DUI checkpoints don’t violate constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
The Associated Press reported that no comprehensive statistics are available detailing how many drunk drivers are caught at checkpoints.
“I’m not anti-cop. I’m anti-bad government and anti-bad cop. I support good cops,” Redlich said. “I would like if police didn’t waste their time with something like checkpoints and would focus their attention on violent crime.” According to Redlich, he has yet to be notified that a driver has been unsuccessful in using one of his fliers. Legal experts have been unable to determine if the fliers would prove useful in court. “These guys are all pushing the envelope,” said David S. Weinstein, a former Miami prosecutor. He said that most states consider driving to be a privilege and people surrender some rights when driving.
FairDUI.org warns that the fliers are not suitable for every person or every situation and clarifies that the fliers are not for people who are driving drunk.