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Ohio law enforcement agencies operate sobriety checkpoints throughout the state. These checkpoints are roadblocks set up on a roadway for the purpose of catching someone who is driving under the influence of alcohol. As USA Today has recently reported, a criminal defense attorney in Florida has come up with a controversial “loophole” that is touted as protection for those innocent of drunk driving, including specifically Ohio drivers.
Loophole for Ohio Drivers
Attorney Warren Redlich has created a flyer he says can help Ohio drivers pass through a sobriety checkpoint without ever rolling down their windows. He has even posted a YouTube video demonstrating the method. The video has over 2.6 million views so far as word of the possible loophole continues to spread.
How It Works
His method involves placing a flyer in a piece of plastic, along with your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Again, under his method, drivers do not roll down their window and verbally engage with the officers as they proceed through the sobriety checkpoint – instead, they simply display the flyer. The flyer reads, “I remain silent, no searches and I want my lawyer,” along with a list of state laws. Redlich has tailored the flyers to fit over 12 state laws, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Ohio.
Activist groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving denounce the method, asserting that it will allow drunk drivers to go undetected. Redlich responds to these groups by saying “[t]here are genuinely drunk drivers that need to be taken off the road, but unfortunately the way the system works, a lot of innocent people get caught up in it and the idea of this is to help people protect themselves by not rolling down their window and asserting their rights.”
Instead of vocalizing your rights, the flyer does the talking for you. Redlich also points out that this method requires the person to be silent, patient and to follow directions – all things someone who is impaired would have trouble doing.
Sobriety checkpoints are legal in Ohio. And although the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable search and seizure of a citizen’s property without probable cause, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints are an exception to this protection.
This method, although unique and technically legal, may not be your best bet when driving through a sobriety checkpoint. Engaging in this method will draw the attention of law enforcement officers, who may take extra action to attempt to detect impairment on your behalf.
Further, regardless of whether your window is rolled up or down, officers are trained to spot an impaired driver using many techniques. Your refusal to speak will not necessary save you from a DUI charge if you are in fact drunk.
While a balance must be struck between ending drunk driving on our nation’s roadways and protecting personal freedom and privacy, use of this method should be carefully considered before it is employed. Consultation with an experienced DUI attorney is advisable as well.