Sign up for our e-mail list and we’ll send updates when we add flyers for new states, legal updates, videos, etc. (maybe an app?). We promise no more than one e-mail a week, and we won’t give the list to anyone else.
Thanks for all the comments, likes, etc. We are inspired by the recent attention (January 2015) and will be adding several states. We hope to complete the country within a couple months.
The idea behind the flyer is that you keep it in your car and show it to police at checkpoints and traffic stops. This is NOT for everyone, nor for every situation. To find out whether the flyer is for you, and when you should (and shouldn’t) use it, please read more on our Flyer page.
To better understand police encounters and how to protect yourself, you should consider buying the Fair DUI book. At this writing (February 2015), the book has 32 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.7 stars out of 5.
|1. On Kindle as low as 99 cents!||2. Paperback from Amazon|
A friend of Fair DUI sent us this juicy document from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
We already knew Florida prosecutors were in a tizzy trying to deal with the Fair DUI flyer. Now we know their rage is national.
Mr. Devallis Rutledge, a refugee from the Orange County DA’s office, writes his opinion about various issues and in this case he took on our California Fair DUI flyer.
In his “brief” on the issue we get this from Rutledge:
The license and identification must be examined to assure validity and the presence of restrictions. … There can be little doubt that in both circumstances [license and registration], the driver is expected to surrender the specified documents to the peace officer for examination….”
People v. McKay (2002) 27 Cal.4th 601, 621-22.
This is a great example of a prosecutor using the wrong case to get to what he wants. People v. McKay was not about the encounter between a police officer and a driver at the window.
Around 6:00 p.m. on June 19, 1999, Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Valento observed defendant riding a bicycle in the wrong direction on a residential street.
A bicycle? Mr. Rutledge, please.
The statute refers to Section 40302(a) of the California Vehicle Code, which says:
40302. Whenever any person is arrested for any violation of this code … the arrested person shall be taken without unnecessary delay before a magistrate … in any of the following cases:
(a) When the person arrested fails to present his driver’s license or other satisfactory evidence of his identity for examination.
The Fair DUI Flyer talks about what happens before arrest. If you’re stopped by a police officer, you haven’t been arrested yet, so 40302 doesn’t apply. And even if it did,
Upon analysis it will be seen that one cannot be arrested on the sole authority of section 40302: “such section … is not penal in nature and cannot form the basis for a lawful arrest.”
There’s certainly an argument that if you’ve been stopped for a traffic violation you might have to hand over your license at some point – particularly when the officer has decided to write you a citation. But the initial encounter at the window is before that decision has been made.
Keep in mind that most of the flyer’s publicity comes from checkpoints, and in a checkpoint the driver hasn’t been stopped for any traffic violation. So there is no requirement to physically hand over the license in a checkpoint.
Rutledge also misapplies another case:
[E]very motorist knows that the officer will wish to speak with him, however briefly…. It may be necessary, for example, for the driver to roll down his window.” People v. Superior Court (Kiefer) (1970) 3 Cal.3d 807, 822.
Kiefer is a case where the court ruled for the defendant:
The controlling issue in this proceeding is whether in the circumstances shown Officer Cameron’s act of opening the door of defendants’ car and looking inside was an unreasonable search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We conclude that the question must be answered in the affirmative, and that the trial court correctly granted defendants’ motion to suppress.
The court’s reference to rolling down the window was only to explain why the actions and movements of the driver and passenger inside the car were not suspicious. They didn’t say the driver has to roll down the window. They said it might be necessary.
Mr. Rutledge claims this is the bottom line:
BOTTOM LINE: Upon demand of a peace officer at a lawful traffic stop or CDL/sobriety checkpoint, the driver must give required documents to the officer, and may not merely exhibit them through rolled-up glass.
We disagree. The bottom line is that you do not have to give the documents to police at a traffic stop until the officer has decided to give you a citation. You should only give it to the officer if you are ordered to do so. And you don’t have to do it at all at a checkpoint.
With that said, consistent with what we say on the back of the flyer, if you are ordered by police to do something it is safer to comply. Your lawyer can fight the legality of that order later in court.
One issue that we expect to see in federal court in the future is whether a state statute requiring surrender of the license outweighs the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights. In 1968 which Rutledge refers to, police may have needed physically hold the license in their hands (though that still seems weak). But today police can write down the license number and other information, and check it on the computer in their car or call it in. That kind of technology did not exist in 1968.
There are states that clearly require surrender of the license. That’s an attempt to get around the Fourth Amendment and we can only hope that the federal courts will reject such an end run.
Another issue is what happens if a driver doesn’t follow our advice, refuses an order, and police smash the window. Police officers should be very careful with this, as they could be held liable for excessive force under Deville v. Marcantel.
It’s easy for prosecutors to offer up opinions like this. They’re not the ones who get sued in federal court when a cop goes too far on their advice. People think Fair DUI is anti-cop. We’re not. We do want police to follow the law (and many don’t like that), but we also want to protect police from dumb advice from the lawyers who are supposed to be on their side.
A fan of Fair DUI in New York’s Capital Region (Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga and more) sent us a video. The video shows the Fair DUI flyer for New York State in action in a State Police checkpoint in the town of Brunswick. Note that in New York State drunk driving is commonly referred to as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and there is a lesser offense called DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired). Drugged driving is called DWAI Drugs.
The Trooper took a brief look at the flyer and just waved the driver through without even asking him to roll down his window. New York is a good state for the Fair DUI flyer. There is no law requiring drivers to hand over their license. All you have to do under NY law is show it through the window. And if you get pulled over for a traffic violation, there is no requirement to sign tickets.
The video consists of two clips. The first clip looks like a handheld camera operated by the driver, possibly a cell phone. The second half is the dashcam. If you look close in the dashcam portion you can see two “Sobriety Checkpoint” signs, one early on the right and one within the checkpoint on the ground on the left.
He reported this took place just outside the city of Troy. Based on our knowledge of the area (Fair DUI founder grew up nearby) we think it was on Route 7, somewhere near the point shown on the map below:
Toward the end of the video you can see the Cap Com credit union sign on the right side.
The “Fair DUI” movement is growing. Our big video got over 3.1 million views and was featured in national media including the Washington Post, Fox News and CBS News. We’ve had plenty of local media coverage too.
If you’re a DUI lawyer you can be a part of the movement – for free! You can help our effort to make DUI laws more fair. You can help clients protect themselves from wrongful DUI arrests. And in the process you can get become the go-to lawyer for the Fair DUI community in your area.
Free? Really free?
Yes. Really. There will be ways you can pay to get more out of it, but you can join for free.
We are building a state-by-state DUI directory on the internet at FairDUI.org. Our website is growing and getting more traffic. So is our e-mail list, now approaching 6000 subscribers.
We want to include lawyers in our directory. Our readers are asking for help. You can be one of them.
How It Works
First, the Fair DUI lawyer directory is only available to lawyers who support our movement. You can read the rough details on our issues page. In short we want two things:
1. Procedural protections that protect innocent drivers from wrongful DUI arrests.
2. Change the approach to first offenders to minimize punishment and focus on education and treatment.
While it was not our original focus, we also oppose DUI checkpoints.
You don’t have to agree with us on all of these issues. But if you think the current DUI system is already fair and doesn’t need significant changes then the Fair DUI directory is not for you.
Second, you have to at least minimally support the Fair DUI flyer. You should review the flyer for your state (we’ve done 30 states so far), check the relevant statutes and make sure you understand the issues we are raising. If you think we’ve got something wrong, let us know.
As part of this you should be willing to do some free consultations with people who have questions about the flyer.
I will be doing a “CLE” (no credit) video about the legal issues. It’s almost ready. If you’re going to be a Fair DUI lawyer, you should watch it.
Once you’ve been approved as a Fair DUI lawyer, you should include a link from your website to your state’s page for the Fair DUI website. Sooner or later we’ll come up with “Fair DUI Lawyer” banner you can use.
Third, if you’re on board with the above, please let me know and I will include you on the state page for your state. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to your website or other contact information. You can also contact me on LinkedIn if you prefer.
We will add premium listings where you will be able to pay to be listed at the top of the page for your state and with additional info – maybe a photo and more.
Eventually I would like to work with lawyers to do state editions of the Fair DUI book. This will be available to the top paying lawyer in each state who will add comments to each chapter and add two or three chapters to the book relevant to that state.
I’m biased but it’s a good book. Look at the reviews on Amazon – 44 reviews averaging 4.7 stars at this writing. You won’t find any book like it that does nearly as well. And you can help make it better for readers in your state.
You won’t make money on the book. The price is kept low deliberately. But you will help people. More potential clients will know your name, and you will establish yourself as an authority.
Please let me know if you’d like to join the movement. E-mail me at email@example.com. If you know a lawyer who might be interested please ask them to contact me.
We’ve added flyers for three more states:
Minnesota and Wisconsin are excellent states for the flyer. They don’t allow checkpoints, don’t require you to hand over your license, and don’t require you to sign tickets.
Missouri is a little tougher because you may be required to sign tickets. The law is actually unclear about it but the police will probably insist. If you can we recommend using an app to digitally sign the ticket, still without rolling your window down.
Thanks to a reader comment, we have updated and revised the Massachusetts OUI page.
There is a state statute that requires drivers to hand over their license, but the penalty for that is only a $100 fine. We still recommend that you keep your window up and let the officer write you that $100 ticket.
Today we added flyers for two more states:
Indiana is pretty straightforward. Tennessee is one of those states where you may be required to sign a ticket. We recommend using an app to digitally sign. You can use the SignEasy app, but we’re working on a FairDUI app, hopefully coming soon.
Oklahoma City news anchor Amanda Taylor did a story last night about whether the Fair DUI flyer would work in Oklahoma.
In that story she quoted Captain Curt McKean:
“There are those who are going to test you from time to time,” said Captain Kurt McKean with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. “Circumventing a checkpoint by holding your driver’s license in the window will not work.”
McKean is the statewide impairment driving enforcement coordinator with the OHP and works DUI checkpoints throughout Oklahoma. He says the law requires you to physically hand over your information.
“State law in the state of Oklahoma, Title 47, requires you any time that you’re stopped by a police officer, not just a state trooper, any law enforcement officer in the state of Oklahoma, you’re required to present a driver’s license and a valid ID,” Capt. McKean said. “We need to physically look at that driver’s license to make sure it’s not been altered, to make sure it actually is their driver’s license.”
We’re sorry to report that Capt. McKean is lying. Oklahoma’s Title 47 does not require drivers to “physically hand over” documents. Title 47, Section 6-112 states:
Every licensee shall have his or her driver license in his or her immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall display the same upon demand of a peace officer.
The statute says “display.” In some states the laws require drivers to “surrender” their documents. While we believe such statutes unconstitutionally infringe on the Fourth Amendment, that doesn’t matter in Oklahoma because the statute doesn’t say it.
Inspired by this story, we have created a Fair DUI flyer for Oklahoma. As always, we encourage drivers to discuss this with a local attorney before using it.