Tho Bishop, a 24 year old candidate for the state House, was arrested and charged with DUI in Panama City. He was pulled over by Florida State Patrol while operating his car on Laurie Ave., where he was then booked and placed in custody in the Bay County Jail. He was stopped and then refused the Breathalyzer test, which leads to an immediate arrest in Florida. Under state law, refusing chemical testing carries penalties, including license suspension, fines and other consequences. Mr. Bishop is running for the state House for District 6, which includes most of the area of Bay County. Mr. Bishop refused to talk about the case other than he plans to contest the charges.
There are many people who are victims of an illegal police stop, and are pulled over without probable cause. It can be a terrifying experience to see the flashing lights, get pulled over, and then accused of drunk driving. You may have been driving safely, within the speed limit, and were shocked to be accused of any crime, much less drunk driving. The police are not infallible. They make mistakes. They can be overzealous, or intent upon getting an arrest, whether there was probable cause to stop you or not. This is a rights violation—you are protected under the U.S. Constitution from this sort of law enforcement action, and police must have probable cause to stop you. If you are driving safely, not committing any driving infraction, you cannot be stopped, with one exception. At roadside sobriety checkpoint, police can stop drivers and check for drunk driving.
At a sobriety checkpoint, as these roadside stops are a "grey area" with regard to rights. In order to make the checkpoint legal, there are various actions the police must take, including publicly announcing the location of the checkpoint, and restrictions regarding who can be pulled over. You can't be pulled over due to profiling, such as the appearance of a car, the race or appearance of the driver, but only every third car or similar procedure. You may be the victim of an illegal police stop. If you are charged with DUI, call Shepard Law in Panama City. We protect your rights.