Monday, February 23, 2015

Can the DUI Flyer Prevent Arrest?

Can a piece of paper get you past an Oklahoma DUI sobriety checkpoint?


Anyone familiar with the game “Monopoly” – and many people who are not – recognize the term, "get out of jail free card." The idea of a quick and easy way out of a potentially complicated situation always has an allure, in real life as well as in a game. In that vein, an attorney in another state has devised a card that will supposedly allow drivers to get past sobriety checkpoints without having to say a word, or in many cases even rolling down their windows.


DUI Sobriety checkpoints are legal in the state of Oklahoma. These checkpoints constitute an exception to the general rule that a police officer must have probable cause to stop a driver for suspicion of drunk driving, and are permissible as long as long as they meet the requirements of a legal balancing test that weighs the individual’s rights against unreasonable searches and seizures against the public interest in keeping the roads safe from drunk drivers.


Most of the time this balancing of the individual’s rights against the broader public interest will not result in unjust arrests at a sobriety checkpoint, and according to the web site for the attorney offering the “Fair DUI Flyer” it is intended not so much for drunk drivers as for “liberty activists” and people who are at risk of being arrested for DUI (that is, people who have had one or more alcoholic beverages or who have taken certain medicines or drugs before getting behind the wheel, but who are still sober).


Basically, the idea is to hold up to the driver’s side window a flyer specific to the state that the driver is in, along with documentation such as a driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of current insurance. The flyer’s reverse side has instructions for the driver, the most important of which (and which applies to any state, including Oklahoma) is to exercise his or her right to remain silent. Used correctly, the flyer’s issuer claims that it will help to avoid needless arrests at sobriety checkpoints.


At present, there appears to be no “Fair DUI Flyer” for use in Oklahoma. And whether it is prudent to rely solely on a piece of paper to get through a sobriety checkpoint can be subject to debate: police officers may take the tactic as a challenge, or worse as antagonistic behavior, and neither of those approaches is ordinarily advisable as they can lead to more aggressive conduct on the part of the police.


Still, aside from not talking unnecessarily, some of the advice found on the flyers can be helpful no matter where you are, such as obeying lawful orders that a police officer gives you, and to never physically resist the police.  In Oklahoma, the police have the right to ask you to step out of the vehicle.


If you want to learn more about DUI stops in general, our Oklahoma DUI Defense Website contains a wealth of free information for you, including ways to contact us if you have specific questions or need to schedule an appointment for an initial consultation.





John Hunsucker
Oklahoma DUI Attorney

Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers

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