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South Miami Police Conduct Large DUI Checkpoint

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Last night, the South Miami Police Department’s Multiagency DUI Checkpoint targeted impaired drivers, defective equipment violations, drivers with suspended licenses and seat belt violations.

In total, 600 cars were stopped and checked by 11 p.m.

DUI checkpoints are legal, however the police agency must provide the public with adequate notice of the checkpoint. Checkpoints are not only methods by which law enforcement officers target suspected DUI offenders. Checkpoints provide officers with a legal ground upon which to stop your car and look inside. They can run your driver's license to see if it is suspended, or to check if you have any outstanding warrants. They can also search your car if they detect drugs, such as the smell of marijuana. If they find drugs, they will arrest you.

DUI is still the most serious offense that checkpoints target. And as you may know from earlier posts, DUI is treated as a serious crime in Florida.

While Miami-Dade has implemented a diversion-type program (not true diversion, but close) for first-time DUI offenders, the requirements to get into the program are fairly rigid. Many first-time DUI offenders are rejected from this program, known as "Back On Track."

Aside from the criminal consequences of a DUI, you must deal with the administrative issues, such as a potential driver's license suspension. You need to have your attorney set a DHSMV formal review (DUI administrative hearing) within 10 days of arrest. In the meantime, you can get a temporary driving permit.

Eric Matheny represents clients charged with DUI in Miami-Dade and Broward.