County Criminal Court: CRIMINAL LAW – DUI –Police did not fail to comply with their own written guidelines for roadblock. Judgment and sentence affirmed. Schreiber v. State, No. CRC 06-56 APANO (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. October 12, 2007).

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

 

KRISTYN SCHREIBER

 

            Appellant,

Appeal No. CRC 06-56 APANO

UCN522006AP000056XXXXCR

v.

 

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

            Appellee.

________________________________/

 

Opinion filed ________________.

 

Appeal from a decision of the

Pinellas County Court

County Judge John D. Carballo

 

J. Kevin Hayslett, Esquire

Attorney for appellant

 

Blair Clarke, Esquire

Assistant State Attorney

ORDER AND OPINION

            (J. Demers)

 

            THIS MATTER is before the Court on the defendant, Kristyn Schreiber’s, appeal from a judgment and sentence entered by the Pinellas County Court. The defendant pleaded no contest to DUI charges, reserving her right to appeal the trial court’s denial of her motion to suppress. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court affirms the judgment and sentence.

            This case arises out of a DUI roadblock/checkpoint set up by the police. The defendant was stopped, showed signs of impairment, and was ultimately arrested for DUI.

            The defendant claims the stop of her vehicle was improper because it did not comply with the police’s written guidelines for conducting this particular roadblock. Specifically, the defendant notes the written guidelines provide for the roadblock to begin at 12:30 A.M., but claims the stop must have occurred earlier than that. The defendant argues that the arrest affidavit states she was arrested at 12:35 A.M., and the investigation must have taken quite a few minutes to conduct; therefore, the stop must have occurred before the 12:30 A.M. time the roadblock was to begin.  A review of the record, however, does not support that claim. Although the arrest affidavit states the police arrested the defendant at 12:35 A.M., the deputy was quite clear in his testimony on re-direct and re-cross examination that he first made contact with the defendant at 12:35 A.M. Therefore, the stop took place during the appropriate time.

            Next, the defendant argues that the police did not comply with the written plan because they did not keep a written log of which vehicles were stopped or when they were stopped. Nothing, however, in either the case law or the written plan requires the police to do this. The testimony of the police clearly established that the actual procedure used to stop the vehicles at the roadblock was in substantial conformance with the written plan.

            Finally, the defendant’s argument that the roadblock was improper because there was no showing that this roadblock was more effective in combating crime than less intrusive means is unpersuasive. In Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444, 453-54 (1990), the Court found that DUI roadblocks were effective in combating crime, and it was for the “politically accountable officials,” not the courts, to decide how this law enforcement technique should be used. The Court stated:

                        In sum, the balance of the State’s interest in preventing drunken

                        driving, the extent to which this system can reasonably be said

                        to advance that interest, and the degree of intrusion upon

                        individual motorists who are briefly stopped, weighs in favor

                        of the state program. We therefore hold that is consistent with

                        the Fourth Amendment.

Id. at 455.

 

            In summary, the police conducted the roadblock in substantial compliance with the written plan. Accordingly, the defendant’s motion to suppress was properly denied.   

            IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the judgment and sentence is affirmed.

            DONE AND ORDERED in Clearwater, Pinellas County, this _____ day of October, 2007.

                                                                        ___________________________

                                                                                    David A. Demers

                                                                                    Circuit Court Judge

 

 

                                                                        ____________________________

                                                                                    Raymond O. Gross

                                                                                    Circuit Court Judge

 

 

                                                                        _____________________________

                                                                                    Robert J. Morris, Jr.

                                                                                    Circuit Court Judge

cc:        Office of the State Attorney

            Honorable John D. Carballo

            J. Kevin Hayslett, Esquire