Florida DUI: Sobriety Checkpoints & Zero Tolerance Policy

Florida's DUI (driving while under the influence) policies are different from other state's laws. For instance, Florida uses sobriety checkpoints and has a zero tolerance policy. Florida drivers should understand how these policies work before deciding to drink and drive.

Sobriety checkpoints in Florida

While Florida uses sobriety checkpoints, they are generally not scheduled and vary by county, according to William D. Umansky, a Florida attorney with over 15 years of experience whose practice focuses in the areas of personal injury and criminal defense. He told us, "Orlando, Seminole, Osceola and Orange Counties conduct checkpoints during certain times of the year, usually on holidays such as Labor Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, etc. They do not necessarily have to be disclosed in a formal way, but law enforcement agencies usually have the news stations run checkpoints so that people are aware of them."

Umansky says that the news media will usually notify people where these checkpoints are and as you go in through these points, there will be cars which will be randomly pulled over pursuant to a designed policy. However, he also told us that there are some problems with checkpoints. "If there's no uniform way of applying the checkpoint or if there's an ad hoc or arbitrary and capricious manner of how police determine who they pull out of the cars, then there may be ways to set aside these field sobriety checkpoints and get your DUI thrown out."

Florida's zero tolerance policy

Umansky told us that Florida does not necessarily have a zero tolerance policy, but he said that statement comes with a caveat:

Every state claims to have a zero tolerance policy, but in many cases, police officers may not actually arrest you for a DUI if they're at the end of their shift, they want to go home or they're too busy writing another report.

However, the standard political policy is that there is a zero tolerance policy in many jurisdictions including Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties, and especially in the neighborhoods of Winter Park, Windermere, Longwood, Sanford, Altamont Springs, Coey, Oveido and in bedroom communities like Avalon Park, Stoneybook, Heathrow, Lake Mary, College Park, Dr. Phillips area and at universities like the University of Central Florida, Rollins College and Valencia Community College.

If you have a DUI issue, contact an experienced Florida DUI lawyer to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.