SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – At a sobriety checkpoint, most drivers roll down their windows, and through a quick conversation, prove to police they haven’t been drinking.
State Police can legally do this. Attorney David Crevier of Crevier & Ryan, L.L.P. explained how it complies with the 4th Amendment, which protects Americans from unreasonable searches.
“The United States Supreme Court and the state Supreme Court have found that if you stop somebody for 30 seconds to a minute on the highway, that’s not unreasonable and so you’re allowed to stop somebody and observe,” Crevier explained.
However, a criminal defense attorney in Florida found a daring way around that law. Warren Redlich held up a sign saying, “I remain silent. No Searches. I want my lawyer,” and his license, and police let him pass without asking any questions.
Lawyers say it may be rude, but there’s no law against being rude.
22News asked, “Would you try that or would you kind of be afraid and just do what the cops say?” Louis Nieves, originally of Florida, said, “I’ll probably try it out just to see what happens.”
But, Rita Baranov of Agawam said, “No.” We asked, “Do you think you’ll ever try it?” She responded, “I don’t think so, no. You don’t mess with authority, I don’t think.”
Crevier told 22News during an OUI checkpoint, police aren’t allowed to ask if you’ve been drinking, but they are allowed to observe how you act and talk, and also smell if there’s any alcohol on you or in your car.
“If I’m the police, I would argue that you’re refusing to put the window down prohibits me from observing you and therefore I’m allowed to keep you here until you do roll it down,” Crevier said.
It’s daring, but it may lead to more consequences if police already have reason to believe you’ve been drinking.
22News contacted Massachusetts State Police about this. We’re still waiting to hear back from them.
In 2013, Warren Redlich published a book called “Fair DUI” and launched a web site of the same name (fairdui.org).
Redlich says the problem lies in allowing an ordinary person the ability to assert his or her right to remain silent without actually speaking. To fix this problem, Redlich has created downloadable signs that can be printed out and put in the car. The signs are even customized for 10 states.
Customized Fair DUI signs:
- New York
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
The purpose of the flier, Redlich said, is to keep drivers from voluntarily rolling down his or her window. He said if a driver voluntarily rolls down his or her window and voluntarily speaks, then the police officer hasn’t done anything wrong, and it makes it harder for a defense attorney to defend someone.