Bob Gualtieri, Pinellas County Sheriff, announced that “Wolfpack patrols” and DUI checkpoints will occur once a month starting in February of 2012.
Update: Most recent DUI checkpoint in Oldsmar, Pinellas County FL, on 9/28/12 nets 12 arrests including 5 DUI arrests.
The first such DUI roadblock/checkpoint was scheduled for Friday night, February 17, 2012, beginning at 8 p.m. and continuing until 3 a.m. on Saturday morning at 9001 U.S. Highway 19 N in Pinellas Park, Florida.
DUI cases that result from a checkpoint stop are the most heavily contested types of DUI cases. In these cases the arresting officer often has no driving pattern that would indicate the driver was impaired or intoxicated. Furthermore, the criminal defense attorney can file motions to suppress because DUI checkpoints are the most scrutinized types of detentions under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. During the motion to suppress, the prosecutor must prove not just that the defendant’s stop was reasonable, but that the entire roadblock or checkpoint was set up and executed properly. Any deviation from the pre-determined plan by officers at the scene can result in all evidence of the DUI case being suppressed.
Friday Night’s DUI Checkpoint in Pinellas Park, FL
In order to speed up the efficiency of the checkpoints, the Mobile Command Bus for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office will be on site to provide breath testing on the Intoxilyzer 8000 and the processing of individuals arrested for DUI and other criminal offenses. The PCSO press release on the checkpoint estimated that this weekends checkpoint involved 1,944 (one-thousand nine hundred forty four vehicles) with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office estimating that approximately 25% of those vehicles were diverted through the checkpoint. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office estimated that the average intrusion time was 2 minutes and 6 seconds, although it is not clear whether this counts the time the vehicles were stopped in traffic before reaching the checkpoint. It is also not clear whether this average time applied to all 1,944 vehicles that went through the roadblock area or only the 486 vehicles that were diverted into the checkpoint.
The DUI checkpoint resulted in the arrest of 30 people on the following types of criminal charges:
- 1 (one) aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude charge;
- 1 (one) charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon (motor vehicle);
- 1 (one) charge of resisting arrest without violence;
- 2 (two) arrests on outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants;
- 2 (two) felony violation of probation charges;
- 6 (six) charges of driving without a valid license (no valid license);
- 6 (six) misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance;
- 12 (twelve) charges of driving with a suspended or revoked license; and
- eight DUI charges.
The DUI checkpoint in Pinellas Park also resulted in 47 civil traffic citations being issued. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has also announced that these types of checkpoints will continue once a month a various locations throughout Pinellas County. The groups involved in the Pinellas Park checkpoint include:
- Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office;
- Special Operations Division;
- Patrol Operations Bureau;
- Traffic Crash Investigators;
- Prisoner Transport Unit;
- Community Policing Unit;
- Patrol Deputies (from both North and South County);
- K-9 Unit;
- Narcotics Unit;
- Law Explorer Post 900 (high school students interested in a career in law enforcement);
- Investigative Operations Bureau;
- Support Services Bureau; and
- Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID).
Pinellas County Wolf Pack Patrols (Increase in DUI Enforcement Units at High Traffic Areas)
In addition to the upcoming DUI checkpoints/roadblocks, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has also announced an increase in “Wolf Pack patrols” targeting high traffic areas on various Friday and Saturday nights. These patrols are scheduled on different dates than the DUI checkpoints in Pinellas County, FL.