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How Law Enforcement Patrols for DUIs

According to reports, the typical DUI violator commits such an offense around 80 times a year. These individuals are also more likely to get involved in fatal crashes.

Law enforcement patrol protocols are in place to mitigate such injury-causing and deadly collisions. These processes aim to stop motorists who may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs before they get into a crash.

But how exactly do law enforcement officers conduct such patrols? And how can DUI lawyers assist drivers who may have been wrongly stopped, charged, or arrested for drunk driving?

This article sheds light on those questions, so read on.

How Do Law Enforcement Officers Patrol for DUI Drivers?

The exact strategies vary from one state to another; however, in Florida, DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols are two commonly used methods to identify and apprehend impaired drivers. Many counties in the state also employ DUI task forces to conduct these patrols.

DUI Checkpoints

DUI checkpoints are also known as sobriety checkpoints. Law enforcers use these temporary roadblocks to screen motorists for impaired or drunk driving.

DUI checkpoints are legal only in 38 states, including Florida. For them to be lawful, they must adhere to legal guidelines, including:

  • Having a predetermined and neutral formula for stopping vehicles
  • Providing public notice of the DUI checkpoint in advance
  • Holding each motorist whom they screen for no more than three minutes

An example of a formula for stopping vehicles at a DUI checkpoint is stopping only every third car.

What Happens at a DUI Checkpoint?

Law enforcement officers initiate a brief conversation with the driver at DUI checkpoints. They then observe the motorist for signs of alcohol- or drug-related impairment. For example, they look for visible signs of alcohol or drug use, such as:

  • The smell of alcohol on the driver
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination and mental faculties
  • Bloodshot or dilated eyes

If an officer detects one or more of those signs, they can direct the driver to another area for further evaluation.

What Does Further Evaluation at DUI Checkpoints Mean?

Florida law enforcers can ask drivers who exhibit signs of DUI to submit to field sobriety tests. These include the following:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
  • Walk-and-Turn
  • One-Leg Stand

If a driver fails those, law enforcement officers can request them to undergo a breathalyzer or blood test. These tests determine one’s breath or blood alcohol level (BAL) or concentration (BAC). Under Florida statutes, a person can face a DUI case if their BAL or BAC is 0.08 or higher.

Saturation Patrols

Saturation patrols refer to an increased number of law enforcement officers patrolling specific areas for DUI. The police often conduct them in locations and at times when impaired driving is more common. Studies found they can be effective in lowering rates of alcohol-related crashes.

DUI Task Forces

DUI task forces consist of law enforcement officers who’ve undergone specialized training in identifying and apprehending DUI drivers. They often conduct targeted operations during peak hours, including weekends and holidays. They can stop motorists they believe are under the influence not only at DUI checkpoints but anywhere on the road.

Officers conducting DUI patrols can pull over and stop motorists who exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Erratic driving patterns, such as swerving or following vehicles too closely
  • Driving well above or below the speed limit
  • Traffic violations, including failing to stop at stop signs or running red lights

Once officers stop drivers, they can employ the same methods used at DUI checkpoints.

What Happens if You Get a DUI Conviction?

If you get convicted of DUI in Florida, you can face fines, jail time, probation, and loss of driving privilege.

The severity of your penalties depends on whether it’s your first or subsequent DUI conviction. If it’s the first time, you can get fined between $500 and $1,000, be in jail for one day up to nine months, and lose your license for 180 days to a year. If it’s a second charge within five years, the fine can go up to $2,000, jail time for a minimum of 10 days to nine months, and loss of license for five years or more.

How Can DUI Lawyers Help With DUI Cases?

Since a DUI charge can severely impact your finances, driving privileges, freedom, and future, you should consider fighting it. Even more so if you believe the officers mistakenly charged you or failed to follow due procedures.

A DUI attorney can help fight for your rights by performing the following.

Ensure You Get Fair Treatment

A DUI lawyer will serve as your advocate, helping protect your rights. They’ll help ensure you receive fair treatment throughout the legal process.

For example, your attorney will investigate the circumstances before and during your DUI stop. They’ll look for any indication that the law enforcers may have discriminated against you. They’ll also scrutinize the process by which the police charged you, such as if they had probable cause.

Provide Expert Legal Advice

A DUI defense attorney can provide expert legal advice based on the specifics of your case. For example, they may tell you that the best approach is to take your case to trial because there’s a chance they can get your charges dropped. They can do this by building reasonable doubt around your arrest, such as questioning the following:

  • The legality of the DUI stop
  • The reliability of the breathalyzer or blood test results
  • The qualifications of the law enforcement officer who performed the sobriety tests

While not all DUI cases get dropped, a seasoned DUI lawyer will do everything to reach this outcome for you. If not possible, they will, at the very least, negotiate on your behalf. For instance, they may engage in plea bargaining to help reduce charges or penalties.

Protect Your Rights With a DUI Attorney

From DUI checkpoints to saturation patrols, all these are methods law enforcers use to catch impaired drivers. However, while they can help mitigate DUI crashes, they’re not always conducted legally and correctly.

So, if you’re facing a DUI charge, let the RHINO Lawyers’ expert team of DUI lawyers assist you. We’ve won cases for many of our clients in similar situations. We also offer free instant case evaluations and have a 24-hour hotline you can contact for help.

Call us today so we can get started in reviewing your DUI case.


RHINO Lawyers can help and guide you through a system molded by law enforcement, judges, and lawyers for decades. Having won cases for our clients in similar circumstances, our criminal defense team knows what it takes to fight on your behalf.

Let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at (844) RHINO-77.