Lawyer’s 'Fair DUI Flier' Finds Support Among Florida Drivers

By Paul Gaita 02/17/15

Libertarian attorney Warren Redlich claims his flier doesn't encourage drunk driving, but most feel otherwise.

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A YouTube video that shows a motorist refusing to submit to a police search at a random traffic checkpoint for individuals driving under the influence has reportedly inspired numerous other drivers to adopt the same approach.

The strategy is the brainchild of Warren Redlich, a lawyer and former Libertarian party candidate for New York governor, who claims that the video is meant to prevent false arrests. In the video, which has been viewed more than two million times, a driver at a checkpoint in Levy County, Fla., escapes investigation by presenting to police a plastic bag containing a copy of his driver’s license, registration, insurance and a slip of paper known as the “fair DUI flier.”

The flier’s text states that the driver is abiding by sections of a Florida law that allow him to show his documents in this manner and not roll down his window, preventing officers from claiming intoxication due to breath scent or slurred speech. Redlich, who claims that the flier is not “designed for drunks,” has fliers on his site for drivers in 10 different states, all rewritten according to local laws.

But law enforcement officials and fellow lawyers are skeptical about Redlich’s claims. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that DUI checkpoints do not violate constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and according to Florida Traffic Safety resource prosecutor Garett Berman, Redlich’s flier is based on an outdated interpretation of state traffic laws.

Florida requires drivers to roll down their windows and “display” their driver’s license to police when asked, but Redlich’s fair DUI flier hinges on a recent change in the statute that replaced “display” with “submit” or “present.” According to Berman, all three words can be interpreted as the same action: to give the document to an officer.

Berman notes that the semantics of the issue will probably mean that nothing will be resolved until it is debated in the court system. But he adds that there is a significant and life-saving reason for motorists to follow the letter of the law at DUI checkpoints.

“[Their] purpose is to detect possibly impaired drivers and apprehend those who are,” he said. “There are cases in the Florida district court and Florida Supreme Court and even the U.S. Supreme Court that have found that there is a compelling government interest in keeping the roads free from impaired drivers.”

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.