I don’t do criminal law. I’m New York personal injury lawyer. But I came across an interesting article about a controversial way to avoid getting “busted” at a sobriety checkpoint. This is criminal defense lawyer stuff. I am not recommending this, or even saying I agree with it. But I just find the technique interesting and wanted to pass it on to my readers.
Here’s how it works: As you approach a sobriety checkpoint (a/k/a drunk trap), put your license, registration, proof of insurance and a “note” like the one depicted above in a plastic baggie attached to the exterior of your driver’s side window and then roll up the window as you approach the checkpoint.
Then just remember to shut up. Don’t answer any questions. Don’t talk. The officer outside won’t be able to say he smelled any odor of alcohol from behind your closed window, nor will he be able to say he heard you slur words (if you keep quiet). The cop will thus have no “probably cause” to arrest you.
Worried he might get pissed off at your sealed-in silence? You have the right to remain silent! What if he asks you to open your door or window? You have a right to keep them locked and closed! You have a Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches!
Unless the officer can say he saw you driving erratically, or you happen to have a bottle Jack Daniels in your hand, he won’t be able to find probable cause to arrest you. Or to make you open the door to search your car.
A video of this technique being tested by a brave Florida driver this past New Year’s Eve has gone viral on the internet. How did the cop react? He waved the car on! Will you be so lucky? What if the cop challenges you? What if he threatens to arrest you for failing to obey his order to open your window? In Florida, where this technique has emerged, certain sheriffs have threatened to arrest motorists for “obstruction”- if they try the technique. Yet Constitutional experts say the technique is probably perfectly legal.
I am asking my brave New York readers to drive into a sobriety check point (sober please!), and try this technique. Let me know if it works. Film it for me. Remember, this is not legal advice. In fact, it might be illegal advice. But I’m dying to know how it turns out for you. And if you call me from jail, remember, I am not a criminal defense lawyer!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Syracuse & Central NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.