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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Though a Florida attorney is pushing drivers to keep their windows up during a drunk-driving checkpoint, you would probably be charged doing so in Gainesville.

Warren Redlich, an attorney from Boca Raton, published a YouTube video showing himself during a checkpoint, placing his license, registration and a note refusing comment without a lawyer against the window during a checkpoint before the officer waves him on. The video has more than 70,000 views.

Sgt. Joe Raulerson, who has run DUI checkpoints in the past with Gainesville Police, said doing that during a stop would likely result in an obstruction charge.

“If we conduct a roadway stop, we would require the person to talk to us,” Raulerson said. 

GPD hasn’t held a DUI checkpoint since Dec. 31, 2013, due to the amount of officers needed from Florida Highway Patrol, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and GPD to run the checkpoint. A typical DUI checkpoint would require 30 to 40 officers, Raulerson said.

Still, GPD officers are aware of the trend, he said.

“It happens sometimes in regular traffic stops,” Raulerson said. “We’re starting to see it a lot with sovereign citizens.”

Frederick Shenkman, an emeritus UF professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology and Law, said that while police have the right to require drivers to speak to them, he thinks courts should provide more input on the issue.

“I think we’re going to have a collision with a civil protest against the police. It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Shenkman said. “It always takes some tragedy for people to realize we should do something about this.”

He said the popularity of the video stems from the fact that traffic laws are some of the most commonly broken laws.

“Most people break the law every time they get in the car,” Shenkman said. “So you can see how an ‘avoid arrest during a traffic stop’ video is being popular.”

Redlich has published multiple fliers for people to place in their cars and a book, “Fair DUI,” about the tactic.

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Raulerson said the police department didn’t pay too much attention to the trend because it’s not  new.

“People have tried it before. It’s nothing new,” he said. “They feel like they don’t have to follow the laws of the state of Florida.”

[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 2/25/2015 under the headline “Local police could charge those passing over DUI checkpoints”]


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