Miami area sobriety checkpoint yields problems for motorists, few DUI arrests

Fewer than one drunk driving arrest for every 10 officers was made at a Labor Day weekend DUI checkpoint in Hialeah Gardens.

As we reported before the holiday on our Miami Criminal Attorney Blog, drunk driving arrests at law enforcement roadblocks account for less than 1 percent of DUI charges in South Florida. And additional requirements are placed on law enforcement because of the privacy violations to which such checkpoints subject motorists.

A Miami DUI lawyer should always be called to handle a drunk driving arrest; checkpoint arrests in particular are often beatable.

Hialeah Gardens Police joined law enforcement across the state in conducting sobriety checkpoints over the holiday weekend. Much overtime was earned. Relatively few arrests were made. Among the more unusual incidents reported by the Miami Herald:

-A man drove up to the checkpoint at NW 103rd Street and the Palmetto Expressway with a beer in his hand.

-A woman drove through the checkpoint before stopping, apparently hollering that she had SunPass. Police arrested her for 138 unpaid SunPass violations.

-Another man allegedly had marijuana smoke rolling out of his car upon being asked to roll down the window and turn down the radio.

The paper reported these as humorous anecdotes. But the truth is such checkpoints often endanger motorists and officers on the scene. Drivers are not expecting to find traffic stopped and a sea of flashing emergency lights at an expressway entrance. Recently, an officer in Orlando was hit while police conducted a checkpoint … right in front of the police station.

More than 30 officers were assigned to the checkpoint. 575 vehicles were inspected. Three people were arrested for drunk driving — or one DUI arrest for every 10 officers.