Lawyer's flier challenges DUI checkpoints

Anti-drunk-driving groups criticize attorney's effort; he says it's about rights

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Boca Raton attorney is getting national attention for what he calls a fair DUI flier that encourages sober drivers to challenge drunk-driving checkpoints.

DUI defense attorney Warren Redlich suggests drivers shouldn't roll down their windows at planned sobriety checkpoints. Instead, they should hold up their driver's license, vehicle registration and insurance card, along with a sign that basically says, "I remain silent. I don't allow any searches, and I want my lawyer."

Redlich said drivers should then be able to avoid any further sobriety tests.

"The idea is by not speaking, you're not giving the police officer the opportunity to claim that your speech is impaired," Redlich said.

Drivers across the state have been testing out Redlich's idea, posting videos to YouTube -- and many have been successful at getting through checkpoints with their windows up without having to say a word to police.

But anti-drunk-driving groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, have staunchly criticized Redlich's flier. They said it makes the roads more dangerous because it allows drunk drivers to go out and potentially hurt or kill people.

"The danger really is in that it is encouraging citizens to challenge the directions from law-enforcement officers," said Jill Leslie, executive director of MADD's Jacksonville affiliate.
 Leslie said she saw someone use the flier in Clay County. She said the checkpoints are proven to cut down on dangerous drunk drivers, so why challenge them?
"On average it takes 30 seconds to go through one of these checkpoints," Leslie said. "If you are sober and you have nothing to hide, why wouldn't you just comply with the checkpoint and go on with your way?"

But Redlich said it's about people's rights.
"We all understand that drunk driving is a problem," Redlich said. "But the practical reality is we live in the United States of America. We have a Constitution, and I'm a criminal defense lawyer. And I advise people to protect their rights. I've seen too many innocent people hurt by not exercising their rights and suffering the consequences."
News4Jax safety analyst Gil Smith said the fliers open the door to problems.
"I don't recommend this. It sounds like it's something that people are doing just to kind of challenge the law," Smith said. "In most cases, I believe that they're not going to be impaired because they would not go through the checkpoint if they were."