Police: ‘Fair DUI’ flier could escalate traffic stops
The Phoenix Police Department is warning drivers that they are obligated to comply with officers who pull them over in response to a website that is encouraging motorists suspected of DUI to stay silent and keep their windows rolled up during traffic stops.
FairDUI.com offers printable, state-specific fliers outlining the rights of motorists when stopped by law enforcement. The website encourages drivers to, instead of talking to police, hold up the flier and display — but not turn over — any identifying information.
The fliers and website were created by defense lawyer Warren Redlich, a Florida State Bar member and author of the book “Fair DUI: Stay safe and sane in a world gone MADD.” He’s created fliers for Arizona and 26 other states.
“Although DUI laws used to be a genuine effort to get drunks off the road, they have become a sneaky and disastrous effort to reinstate alcohol prohibition,” Redlich wrote in the book. “We’re all suspects whenever we drive a car, especially after 8 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday night and well into the morning of the next day.”
A note at the bottom of each flier says it is “safer to comply” with officers’ orders if they are clearly stated.
The Arizona laws Redlich cites on the flier say drivers must “provide” identification during traffic stops, but the laws don’t clarify whether any document must be physically handed over to law enforcement.
Sgt. Vince Lewis, a Phoenix police spokesman, said Tuesday that drivers may be arrested if they do not “provide” — he didn’t clarify what that means, either — licenses or other forms of identification to officers during traffic stops. Such stops stem from reasonable suspicion, meaning drivers have been lawfully detained, Lewis said.
“Drivers should understand that officers are going to conduct their investigation,” Lewis said.
Phoenix Police Department warned drivers about using the fliers in a post on Facebook.
“The Internet is full of all sorts of legal information and tips, some of which don’t always apply here in Arizona,” according to the post.
Mark DuBiel, a local DUI defense attorney, said if a police officer asks a driver to hand over their license, they should. Arizonans who use the fliers as instructed, DuBiel said, can face criminal charges and risk turning police officers into antagonists.
“Why do you want to turn (traffic stops) into a 15-minute fiasco when it could be a 2-minute situation?” he said.
He conceded the Arizona statute about displaying a license at a traffic stop is poorly written and creates a potential gray area, but he doesn’t think most judges in Maricopa County would interpret “provide” to mean “to show.”
Drivers who have not been arrested have the right to refuse a sobriety test and decline to answer questions about where they’ve been, DuBiel said. But he said it is not practical to refuse handing over a license.
“We want officers to be able to do their jobs on a daily basis,” he said.