Sobriety Checkpoint: Warning Others Can Now Get You A Ticket

The next time you see a sobriety checkpoint, you’ll be best served to let the cars going toward it get caught.

That’s the lesson Doug “Deo” Odolecki has learned after he was spotted making the cordial motorist move in Parma, Ohio.

Deo stood on a street corner Friday night with a sign warning drivers about an upcoming drunk driving checkpoint, reports.

By interfering with the police’s DUI checkpoints, authorities determined that he was guilty of obstructing justice.

Parma Police Lieutenant Brian McCann asked Odolecki to remove the part of his sign that cautioned motorists to “Turn now!” in order to avoid the sobriety checkpoint.

Odolecki refused to do so, and received a ticket from officer James Manzo, who, the website notes, was involved in a $40,000 police brutality lawsuit in early 2014.

According to local laws, police must alert residents prior to instituting DUI checkpoints. They are to provide “a few hours” advance warning along with the exact location, start and end times.

These rules are what compelled Odolecki to not remove the “Turn now!” portion of his sign. He received the ticket anyway, but noted that the officers “tried to be as civil as they could knowing they were violating someone’s rights.”

Odolecki added that he was standing on the sidewalk at the intersection of Brookpark Road and State Road, a half mile away from a sobriety checkpoint that was at Tuxedo Avenue and State Road.

The ticketed has a record that includes disorderly conduct. He said that he’d used the same sign, which read “Check point ahead! Turn now!” in years prior, and police didn’t seem to have an issue with it. Here’s the incident on video:

He’d been standing at his post for an hour when the officers approached him at 10pm. Attorney John Gold has decided to take the case pro bono because he “supports what Odolecki does,” the website notes.

“I support the police accountability activist movement,” Gold said. “Mr. Odolecki’s case is interesting because it’s an unsettled area of law and the incident violates civil rights.”

Gold continued: “The problem here is not the sign in general. It’s the part of the sign that instructed drivers to turn that the officers had an issue with. … But I think regardless it’s protected speech under the First Amendment.”

In recent years, a more disruptive way of dealing with DUI checkpoints has been through the use of social media. Odolecki could have probably saved himself some trouble if he’d just started a Facebook page. Even so, he could still come out of this with a court win.

Do you think citizens should be allowed to warn others of a sobriety checkpoint, and were the officers in this case justified?

[Image via ShutterStock]

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