DUI Checkpoint SignAn Ohio man is in trouble with police after attempting to warn drivers of an upcoming drunk-driving checkpoint with a sign that read "DUI checkpoint ahead! Turn now!"

Douglas Odolecki took to a street corner in Parma, OH to warn drivers, although police quickly intervened, ticketing him for his sign and claiming that he was obstructing their ability to do their job. Odolecki says he was simply exercising his first amendment rights.

"It's an issue of freedom of speech for me because they wanted to make me take down my sign. They're trying to tell me that certain words on my sign are not proper," Odolecki told WOIO-19, a Cleveland-area CBS affiliate. "They're not going after DUI's anymore. They're going after everything else." According to WOIO, police are required to make all information regarding a DUI checkpoint available to the public one week before hand.

Odolecki has acquired legal representation on a pro bono basis. "He's not in the street. He's not doing anything at all to physically interfere or impair the police ability to conduct their checkpoint at the checkpoint site. It's absolutely free speech under the first amendment," Odolecki's lawyer, John Gold, told WOIO.

Police wouldn't comment on the Odolecki's case, although they did tell the news station that they did make one DUI arrest with this particular checkpoint. Odolecki, meanwhile, faces up to a $700 fine and 90 days in jail. We have the news report from WOIO embedded below, as well as video taken by Odolecki of his 16-minute encounter with police. Take a look at both by scrolling down, and then head into Comments and let us know who you think is in the right here.

19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports




I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 113 Comments
      GR
      • 6 Months Ago
      I thought there was already a court ruling on something similar. There was someone who flashed oncoming traffic to warn them of a police speed trap. The cops then ticketed this driver who was flashing people as a warning of police presence. The man argued it was protected under the First Amendment and the judge agreed. In fact, I just found the article and it was even from this very site: http://www.autoblog.com/2012/05/23/florida-judge-rules-flashing-lights-for-speed-trap-warning-is-co/ This will only work as precedent for this man to site that his sign and action was protected under the First Amendment.
      Matt
      • 6 Months Ago
      I live in the area and this guy was on a local morning radio show. While I have no problem with what he was doing, he came across as an ******* during the interview. He seemed like the type of guy that no matter what he is doing, no matter how innocent or innocuous it is, somehow drama will find him. He just talks and carries himself in a way that, yes, I understand and even agree with your points but I still want you to shut the hell up.
      bullitt2605
      • 6 Months Ago
      There is a big distinction between speed traps and DUI check points. With speed traps they use unmarked vehicles of all kinds and hide and only go after the violations that generate the most money. There are some towns around here where they purposely set the speed limits lower just the catch everyone. DUI check points are very high profile and if your not drunk don't worry.
      WhoMeWhere
      • 6 Months Ago
      Isn't this the much like flashing your headlights to warn other drivers of he police? I believe it has been shown that you cannot legally be ticketed for warning other drivers about the police
        b.rn
        • 6 Months Ago
        @WhoMeWhere
        Watch the second video. Warning drivers wasn't why they got in trouble.
      Paul
      • 5 Months Ago
      "... let us know who you think is in the right here." It's sad that's even a question. It's as if we have accepted as fact that the Bill of Rights are meaningless and the government has ultimate power. What this guy did is absolutely free speech. Morally questionable? Sure... but free speech none the less - and the cops should know better.
      Davey Hiltz
      • 1 Month Ago


      Davey Hiltz
      • 1 Month Ago

      I'm kind of not sure about this one. On one hand, he has freedom of speech, but on the other, he's helping others hide from the law. I don't think that's an issue that I would have the right to address, but I would say just have the police move the checkpoint, or pull people over before the sign.

      http://www.thebeachlawfirm.com 

      ChaosphereIX
      • 6 Months Ago
      I don't care about freedom of speech in this case, this man is wrong. Drunk driving has claimed countless innocent lives due to one person's selfishness and stupidity. He should be charged not with freedom of speech etc. but obstruction of justice...or something like that. Asinine. Honestly, who wants dangerous drunk drivers to keep driving drunk and eventually run over a baby stroller or old lady because he had a few too many...
        davebo357
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        "I don't care about freedom of speech in this case," Here's something I should never have to read on the internet.
        Card13
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        Unfortunately, free speech doesn't disappear just because you don't like what he's saying. It is not hate speech or is not DIRECTLY bringing harm to anyone's being or reputation. Yes, it's very wrong that he is helping the drunk driving fools, but he is within his rights to do such.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        What about the fact the officer said the "checkpoint is ALL about educating the public"? IIt's not even really about people driving drunk. Take away free speech and we wouldn't be here commenting on this story. He was exercising his constitutional rights to protect others constitutional rights. Answer this: Would you mind if officers demanded to enter your home for a safety inspection and fine you if they found issues?
          Gettin Randy
          • 6 Months Ago
          Your example isn't the same in any way shape or form and you know it. Driving a car on public roads isn't a right. It is a privilege that can be taken away at any time. If you are out driving drunk, you are putting every single person that is also out and about in unnecessary danger. Those people should not be protected in any way. It's like walking into a crowded place with a loaded gun that you know is going to go off. It's just a matter of time. Anyone that defends "freedom of speech" in this situation over eliminating drunk drivers, seriously needs to get their head checked.
          ChaosphereIX
          • 6 Months Ago
          your point is not addressing my line of argument. That is catching drunk drivers. You do this by checkpoints. They work. You seriously would endanger yourself and your loved ones just so some guy can keep his freedom intact? I just don;t get it.
        Gettin Randy
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        I tend to agree with you on this one. There are a lot of "illegal" things I will accept behind the wheel of a car, but driving drunk is not one of them. I personally feel the penalty for drunk driving is entirely way too soft. I think something like 3 months in jail, 3 year suspended license, and a $10,000 fine would do nicely for the first offense. How many families have been destroyed by drunken idiots? I bet if the threat of serious punishment existed, people would actually think twice. As for this guy, yeah screw him and his "freedom of speech". You don't get to claim that crap when you put irresponsible dbags ahead of everyone else's safety. Sadly the drunk drivers rarely crash and burn to death alone by just hitting a tree. They usually take an innocent family out and then survive the wreck themselves.
          mikeam91
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Gettin Randy
          You are a moronic fool that is either not an American or needs to be expelled from America! Their is NEVER a reason to degrade the rights MILLIONS of men and women have fought for. Freedom of speech and protections against unlawful search and seizure are principle this country was founded on. If you don't like it or think checkpoints are more important move to North Korea or some other police state that puts Fascism above all else. You don't get to claim that you are trying to rid the road of drunk drivers when you are putting everyone's freedoms in question. You exhibit the lowest level of thinking possible. I don't understand how people can talk so callously about a freedom that allows them to talk callously about that freedom! Do you not get that everything you said and your ability to say it was because of the exact thing you say you don't care about? My next question is, do you really believe that our freedoms are guaranteed, unadulterated and do not need or deserve further protection???
          ChaosphereIX
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Gettin Randy
          Randy...I agree with you there. Yes he has the freedom to do so...doesn't mean he should have done it. If you have lost someone to drunk driving, you would be like me and probably got out of your car and put that guy on his back. Screwed up that people are defending his right to allow drunk drivers to get away with endangering the public. Yes he has the right to do so, but sometimes rights shouldn't allow someone to willfully endanger others.
        ChaosphereIX
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        wow you guys are getting too caught up in the freedom of speech thing, and not the central issue. Drunk driving killing people. Yes being free to say what you want is all nice and all, but there is a line. His sign was clearly aiding and abetting drunk drivers to break the law. I am not sure he should be jailed, but at least his sign should have been taken down. What would you all say if his sign worked, and then 30 minutes up the road a drunk driver hit an old lady pushing a baby stroller, killing them? Pitchforks I am sure... You Americans are too caught up in your rights. Yes, they are powerful tools to ensure your freedom, but should not be taken for granted. And the for sure as hell shouldn't include allowing others to break the law. Plus, as others have stated, driving is a privileged, not a right. Can and should be taken away once you break the law that warrants such an action. Such as drunk driving and endangering all the other motorists with your selfish actions. I love my freedoms, but I gladly give up some absolutes in freedom of speech here in Canada for some sensible Draconian rule. For the better of all.
          Stephen
          • 6 Months Ago
          @ChaosphereIX
          As challenging as driving is for dunks (from my personal observations) I doubt he is helping anyone who is seriously drunk. They probably can't read his sign in the short time they are passing him. So, no, I don't see him as protecting the drunks. If I was on a deadline and could avoid a checkpoint because of his sign I would be appreciative of his efforts. (I don't drink, can't stand the taste of just about all the alchohol I've had the opportunity to try.)
          Gettin Randy
          • 6 Months Ago
          @ChaosphereIX
          I'm glad to see there is at least one other person on Autoblog that uses intelligent thought. The larger issue here is protecting drunk drivers, not freedom of speech. The law will take care of itself and he'll most likely get off. Doesn't change the morality of what he is doing. I bet every single person on here would change their tune in an instant as soon as their wife, child, family, or best friend was killed by a drunk driver. I'm sure they'd walk right up to that man and say "Hey buddy, I applaud you for exercising your rights".. I think not.
      Edward Chan
      • 6 Months Ago
      I don't think a drunk driver is going to notice him... He's warning everyone else who knows that DUI checkpoints are just a money grab. No driver license? Hello impound fees. Broken taillight? Ticket time. Not white? Prepare to get searched and planted. It's a hell of a lot easier to stand around and let the money drive to you than go around trying to chase it right?
      david.bergman1
      • 6 Months Ago
      These guys are standing up to the growing police state and warning people they are about to be harassed without probable cause. Good job guys!
      hirohawa
      • 6 Months Ago
      Big hero - keeping the streets safe for Drunk Drivers. I'm going to exercise my first amendment rights and say this guy is a big A hole. Most people that say America is a "Police State" have never been to a country that is actually a police state.
        Jarda
        • 6 Months Ago
        @hirohawa
        If they live in US then they actually have been.
        thedriveatfive
        • 6 Months Ago
        @hirohawa
        Speaking as someone who grew up in a "Developing Nation" (The term used exclusively in first world nations to pad there ego for PC reasons, we still think of ourselves as poor) I often wonder why a greater % of the US population is in prison then in my home nation. There if I had a minor infarction like speeding or parking in the wrong place I simply could tip the police and it was done, here the process seems much more arduous and convoluted. Really why are you locking up your own people for what wouldn't even be looked at in many other nations? I guess if your referring to Burma or North Korea you may be right but overall your wrong.
          hirohawa
          • 6 Months Ago
          @thedriveatfive
          Yeah why have ticket revenue go to the state infrastructure when you can "tip" the cop and it goes into his pocket. A much better system. And it's "You're wrong" not "your wrong" - Kind of ironic huh? A good attempt but like the rest of your post incorrect.
      Paul
      • 6 Months Ago
      The police are clearly in the wrong here.
        Vinny68
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Paul
        I agree that the police are in the wrong but the guy with the sign is an a$$.
        carnage
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Paul
        You must be a criminal.
          akitadog
          • 6 Months Ago
          @carnage
          Interesting comment. Does that come from the "If you're not with us, then you're against us," GW Bush school of logic? A false dichotomy then, a false dichotomy now.
    • Load More Comments