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Controversial Video May Be Helping Drivers Dodge DUI Checkpoints

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - It's the YouTube video that's gone viral. In the video, a driver gets through a DUI checkpoint without lowering his window or even saying a word. The video, recorded in Florida on January 1st, has been viewed more than two million times. More videos are now surfacing claiming the tactics used are helping people beat DUI checkpoints.

CBS4's David Sutta investigated to see if it really works, or if it's a hoax.

The video starts off like any DUI checkpoint—cars funneled into one lane. Officers wave to see if you are sober. When the driver pulls up to the deputies, he says absolutely nothing.

Click here to watch David Sutta's report. 

Instead, hanging out the window is a plastic bag with a driver's license, registration, insurance and a card that reads "I remain Silent. No searches. I want my lawyer." The deputies take a good look then wave the driver through.

"We've done seven or eight videos and it's worked every time in the checkpoints," Attorney Warren Redlich said. He's the person credited with creating the card. It's something he developed to make DUI checkpoints "fair" because he doesn't trust all cops to fair.

Redlich explained, "Fundamentally I think people don't like checkpoints. They are un-American. And I think people get that."

"A checkpoint is un-American?" Sutta asked.

"Yeah. You've heard of checkpoint Charlie? Checkpoints, you know papers please this all the kind of stuff that we imagine from places like Nazi Germany and Russia. It's not America. America is a place where you are free to travel," Redlich said.

On YouTube this "fair DUI" appears he has some support.

"On the Youtube video is 10 to 1, more than 10 to 1 thumbs up and then thumbs down," Redlich claims. He's also received a sobering dose of hate mail though. "People hoping my children get murdered by a drunk driver. You know that's really humanitarian of them. You know it's an irrational, hatred-driven, fear-driven thing," Redlich said.

Like it or hate it we wondered does it work? Is this some sort of gimmick? A trick? Redlich responds to the thought.

"I would say it's a method. You could call it a trick. I mean if asserting your constitutional rights is a trick then sure," Redlich's technique uses the 4th amendment that prohibits unreasonable searches and the 5th amendment, your right to remain silent (self-incrimination).

If you are wondering why you would want to keep your window up and remain silent, Redlich explains.

"The minute you roll down your window, whether there's actually an odor of alcoholic beverages or not, the police will claim that they smelled alcohol. And when you speak, one of the key things here is to not speak, when you speak the police can say your speech was slurred. Your speech was impaired. There is something wrong with the way you were speaking," Redlich said.

By eliminating smell and sound, all that's left is what the deputy sees. He believes it will hold up.

We wondered if this is totally legitimate? Is it legal? Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said in short: yes.

"Yeah. They can do this. They want to put their documents outside and they are available to us they could do this," Israel said. Broward has yet to see the cards at their checkpoints. If they do, though, they are prepared.

"We are not going to force the issue on the window coming down. However if my observations and suspicions are that you may be intoxicated it's going to be handled in a completely different way," Israel said.

Deputies observing anything suspicious could order you to open your window. And if a driver refuses things could escalate.

"If we needed to break a window, or a door, or break any kind of door or window, or conveyance. We would do that," Israel said.

Attorney David Weinstein admires the concept but at the end of the day, told us he wouldn't recommend it for his clients. He said the tactic is way too subjective and risky.

"There is no guarantee that anyone's advice is 100-percent bullet proof. You may encounter a situation where an officer honors it. You may encounter an officer who doesn't. And if you've been drinking and they don't honor it you are still going to end up arrested."

Ultimately Redlich said his tactics aren't about ducking a DUI, it's about keeping bad cops from harassing you.

"Unfortunately we have a world where the police have a lot of power. Sometimes that's important and they need that power. But sometimes they abuse that power and we need to keep an eye on them," Redlich said.

Sheriff Israel counters pulling this card out will likely have the opposite effect.

"I ask myself 'why would an individual want to goad police. Why would you want that negative contact?'" Israel said. Israel's advice to anyone considering this, "Why? If you are compelled to do, do it. It's within your rights. But why do it?"

While the Fair DUI card has worked thus far at checkpoints, it has yet to be challenged in the courts. It's inevitably going to happen at some point. In the meantime, everyone we spoke with advised that if an officer orders you to lower your window--do it.

For more on this Fair DUI, head over to fairdui.com.

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