Driving under the influence, commonly known as a DUI, is a serious crime.
In an attempt to catch more inebriated people on the streets, police often
set up DUI checkpoints along busy roads. These checkpoints can slow traffic
down to a crawl, and cause quite a bit of stress for drivers heading home
after a night at the bar.
There are set guidelines police departments must follow in order to set
up a DUI checkpoint that vary from state to state. One requirement is
that the police department must advertise the checkpoint up to a week
ahead of time, and the exact times and location a few hours before it
is set up. This is done so that, if a driver does not actively choose
to avoid the known checkpoint, they have implicitly consented to participating
in the checkpoint.
You may ask yourself then, if the police are required by law to announce
the DUI checkpoints ahead of time, should I be allowed to do so as well?
In 2014, one Doug Odolecki followed that same way of thinking, and stood
on a street corner ahead of a Parma, Ohio DUI checkpoint with a sign that
read, “Check point ahead! Turn now!”
Police approached Odolecki, first requesting that he remove the portion
of the sign telling motorists to turn, claiming that it obstructed police
business. When Odolecki refused, he was issued a ticket and his sign was
Odolecki was given the maximum sentence of 90 days in jail for obstruction
after his 2016 hearing, but his attorney announced his plans to appeal
the conviction. In a phone interview, he stated that “The judge
far exceeded her authority today…It’s clear she had her mind
made up to sentence Doug to the maximum sentence possible, but she actually
Both Odolecki and his attorney believe that Odolecki was acting within
his First Amendment rights, but seeing that the courts ruled against him
in this case, both Odolecki and his attorney will need to wait for the
appeals process in order to argue their case again.
This case makes it apparent that while the act of warning itself will likely
not be considered a crime, police officers may not hesitate to find a
way to stop you from doing so. Like in most situations, if you are warning
oncoming drivers of an upcoming DUI checkpoint, if a police officer approaches
you and asks you to stop doing so, the best way to avoid an issue is to comply.
If you were arrested for warning drivers of an upcoming DUI checkpoint,
you can expect a fight in court. In cases like this, it’s important
to have a qualified DUI attorney on your side. Koffel Brininger Nesbitt is
one of the leading privately retained DUI law firms in Ohio, and for years
our firm has been selected as one of the “Best Law Firms in America”
by U.S. News. Don’t enter a fight for your freedom without the help
you deserve. Call us today, or
contact us through our website.