Ever since PINAC’s Jeff Gray rode through a DUI checkpoint earlier this year with his drivers license hanging out the window in a Ziploc bag – along with a Fair DUI flyer from South Florida attorney Warren Redlich – the flyers have generated tons of media coverage as well as threats of arrests from tough-talking sheriffs.
But it was only until last month that the flyer got him arrested.
And we were there to capture that arrest with several cameras, including a new 360 degree camera we are now selling that was attached to the dashboard of my car, the PINACmobile, which he was driving.
A gaggle of Florida cops tried their best to turn the camera off, but were unable to do so as you can see in the video below.
Getting arrested is exactly what Redlich was hoping for when he drove the DUI checkpoint in Coral Gables on August 19, a municipality in Miami-Dade County, refusing to roll down the window while holding the flyer and his driver license up against the window, providing officers with a clear view of both.
The flyer stated that he wished to remain silent and did not consent to searches. The driver license against the window, he argues, was all he was legally required to do to make it through the checkpoint without further detainment.
But Coral Gables police insisted they needed to hold the license, which, of course, would have required him to roll down his window. And that, he says, places drivers at the risk of getting arrested, even if they are not intoxicated.
The way he sees it, the more you talk to cops, the more you leave yourself open to getting arrested. And just the mere act of rolling down the window allows police to claim they smell alcohol and marijuana, giving them probable cause to search the car, even if they are lying.
After all, it is impossible to prove in court that a cop did not sincerely think he actually smelled the booze or weed.
But now that he has been arrested, he has enough grounds to file a federal lawsuit against the Coral Gables Police Department, which he hopes will lead to a judge determining exactly what police are allowed to demand through checkpoints.
It already appears as if Coral Gables police are backtracking from their initial stance because that night, after more than an hour of having him handcuffed, they ended up releasing him with a citation for failure to provide identification rather than take him to jail on a resisting arrest without violence charge, which was their original goal.
But that was after they fully searched the PINACmobile, referring to the search as an “inventory,” which is apparently the term they use when they want to search a vehicle without a warrant or probable cause.
Redlich gets into the intricacies of the incident on his blog, West Boca News.
And CBS4 also reported on the story, interview the Coral Gables city attorney, who insisted police did nothing wrong by handcuffing him.
After Redlich’s “Fair DUI” program gained national attention, Coral Gables attorneys took a closer look. “They adopted a policy that was more extreme than anything I had ever seen before,” Redlich claims. Essentially, refuse to open your window at the checkpoint and you can be arrested. Redlich was so upset by the policy he says he tried contacting the city attorney. “You don’t get to charge me with a crime. The legislature said this is the penalty. You don’t get to stack on new penalties.” The penalty he explained, usually, is a non-moving violation. A ticket. In Coral Gables though Redlich spent three hours in handcuffs.
“I am confident I’m right. And I’m confident they are wrong,” Redlich summarizes.
In the end officers decided to release him. He ended up with just a ticket for failing to exhibit a driver’s license. He suspects officers realized they couldn’t arrest him.
Craig Leen, Coral Gables City Attorney, clarified that for CBS4. “He’s wrong.” Leen said. Leen says the officer has discretion. He added Redlich could still be charged with obstruction of justice. Leen called the situation sad. “He’s playing a game. He’s not here for any purpose but to obstruct the DUI checkpoint and that’s wrong,” according to Leen.
The City is considering their options.
What does Redlich hope comes of this? Redlich told Sutta, “I have what I need to go to federal court and have a federal judge who says say no you can’t do that.”
Meanwhile the City is digging in preparing to fight if needed. “We will defend us and in my view we will prevail,” Leen said.
On Thursday, Redlich filed a lawsuit against Coral Gables for refusing to release its guidelines on DUI checkpoints, which is public records. And he expects to file the main lawsuit soon.
Below is an edited video from the night along with photos and the full, unedited video from the PINAC Cam, which lasts more than an hour. Click here to purchase the camera.