DUI checkpoints are controversial. However, the first thing you should know is that they are legal in Georgia as long as the correct guidelines are followed. As the name suggests, the police use DUI checkpoints to determine whether random drivers are sober or not. These checkpoints can be set up on any public road in the state. When the police stop you, they may ask for your license and registration but their primary concern is whether you are intoxicated.
This means they will be looking for indicators of impairment like:
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes
- An odor of alcohol
- Poor motor skills
- Beverage containers in the car
DUI checkpoints and roadblocks and are not legal in every state. However, in 1990, the US Supreme Court determined that they were not a violation of citizens’ Fourth Amendment right. This is the right against unreasonable search and seizure. If the checks are carried out with minimal intrusion, it’s not considered a violation of your rights. Law enforcement officers must follow established guidelines in order for a checkpoint to be legal. If officers don’t adhere to the guidelines, your Atlanta DUI lawyer may use this to help you fight your DUI charges.
Requirements for Sobriety Roadblocks in Georgia
DUI checkpoints should be subject to the following restrictions:
- They must be part of an ongoing effort to reduce drunk driving;
- They must have the support of the judicial system;
- There must be predetermined guidelines for how the roadblock should operate;
- The location cannot be randomly chosen. It must be in an attempt to improve public safety and it must be in an area where there’s a clear reason for a roadblock.
- There must a warning to let drivers know that they’re approaching a roadblock.
- There must be a noticeable police presence when you approach the roadblock.
- Before the roadblock is set up, the method of determining whether a driver is under the influence must be determined and standardized.
- If the roadblock is to be changed, this must be documented prior to the checkpoint.
- If a blood or urine test is to be conducted, the transportation to the testing site must be fast and efficient.
- Drivers must be adequately warned about the roadblock so they can avoid it if they wish to.
- Drivers who are stopped during the roadblock should be asked for feedback to help the authorities determine if the roadblock is working.
The burden is on the state to prove that all these guidelines were followed. If you were stopped during a roadblock, your DUI lawyer in Atlanta will check for these factors when they start to work on your defense. If rules were broken, the evidence the officers collected against you may not be admissible in court.
What Happens If You Avoid a DUI Checkpoint
As we noted earlier, drivers must be informed that they’re approaching a checkpoint. You may therefore be wondering if the police can pull you over for avoiding a roadblock. If you’re driving normally and it so happens that you avoid a DUI checkpoint, officers don’t have a reason to stop you. Let’s say a checkpoint is coming up in three blocks and you opt to turn off at the next intersection. You do so by signaling appropriately and driving within the speed limit. This is legal and shouldn’t cause a problem.
However, if you do something unusual to get away from a checkpoint, the officer may have reason to suspect criminal activity. This gives them grounds to stop your vehicle. Let’s say you’re driving on a road and there’s nowhere to turn off. If you execute a U-turn without signaling and speed off, the police officer would have grounds for pulling you over.
Contact Howard & Arca DUI Lawyers for Representation
DUI charges need to be taken seriously. If you were arrested and charged after interacting with police at a DUI checkpoint, you need to hire an Atlanta DUI attorney. At Howard & Arca, we have an experienced team and we can defend you against the charges. Each DUI case is different, so you need to schedule a consultation and allow us to review the circumstances surrounding the stop and arrest.
It is important that you tell us everything you can remember so we can build a strong case. With your freedom and reputation at stake, you need to do everything possible to fight the charges. Since doing so on your own will be extremely difficult, you should work closely with a skilled attorney who will fight for you. Call us today so we can get started on your case.