Lawyer’s Signs Raise Questions About DUI Checkpoints
A criminal defense attorney is gaining national attention after his message about DUI checkpoints went viral.
Warren Redlich is a criminal defense attorney based in Boca Raton, Florida. In 2013, he published a book called “Fair DUI” and launched a website of the same name.
Redlich's message is that when drivers approach a DUI checkpoint, they are not required to roll down their windows and talk to police. He says by doing so, drivers open themselves up to problems.
Redlich is not the first with this kind of message. But, he is getting a lot of attention after a video he posted on New Year's Day received 2.3 million views. “It wasn't what any of us expected,” Redlich told us.
Redlich says the problem lies in allowing an ordinary person the ability to assert his or her right to remain silent without actually speaking. To fix this problem, Redlich has created downloadable signs that can be printed out and put in the car. The signs are even customized for 10 states.
Customized Fair DUI signs are available for the following states:
• New York
• New Jersey
• South Carolina
The purpose of the flier, Redlich said, is to keep drivers from voluntarily rolling down his or her window. He said if a driver voluntarily rolls down his or her window and voluntarily speaks, then the police officer hasn't done anything wrong, and it makes it harder for a defense attorney to defend someone.
“I've seen innocent people who pleaded guilty because they couldn't fight or afford an attorney,” Redlich said.
Redlich's web site very clearly states that his signs are not for drunk people.
When asked if he thinks his signs will help protect drunks who drive, Redlich said, “This is not about helping drunks. This is about helping innocent people. If some drunk person along the way gets help because of this, I'm perfectly okay with that. I'm a criminal defense attorney.”
He said his signs require people to remain patient, silent and follow directions. These are all things impaired drivers have a hard time doing. His system, he said, wouldn't work for drunks anyway.
Redlich said he's hearing from people all over the country. “I had a call this morning from a retired police office. He did check points and always thought they were wrong.”
We spoke with a Cooley Law School professor, attorney Curt Benson. He said this effort is not new. And, it's clear Redlich is using this as a marketing effort for his book and his practice, Benson said.
Benson also pointed out a problem with the printed signs. He did a spot check on Redlich's signs created in Florida. The card Redlich has on his web site states “I do not have to you my license.” However, just six months ago, July 1, 2014, the law in Florida was changed from using the word “display” to the phrase “you must present or submit (your license) upon demand of a police officer.”
“I think the legislature struck the word display on purpose. The overall point is, his card is already archaic. There's no way to update these things,” Benson said. He went on to say the law is very dynamic. It's always changing.
“The other problem is if I was an officer and there's a small card held against the window, I'm going to say ‘I can't read that,' The average officer on the street is not going to get on his knees and read the driver's license,” said Benson.
He doesn't think the driver should be put in a position to determine on the spot what is legal and what isn't.