If you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) as a result of a DUI checkpoint, it is important to know not only your rights but the requirements of such a checkpoint under Georgia law. While DUI checkpoints are generally considered lawful in Georgia, if they do not meet the specific legal requirements your charges may be dropped.
You may be able to challenge your DUI charge. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney can fight for your rights.
Certain requirements must be met or a DUI checkpoint in Georgia is unconstitutional. Law enforcement cannot simply place a DUI checkpoint any time or place they want. The decision as to where to place the roadblock must be made by a supervisor, not field officers. DUI checkpoints must also be for a legitimate purpose. Checkpoints may not be placed for the purpose of general law enforcement, but must be to find and prevent specific crimes such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A checkpoint must be properly marked and officers must be in uniform. Law enforcement may not unreasonably delay traffic. Every vehicle must be stopped, but not every vehicle must be pulled over for any further search or investigation. Random stops are not permissible at a Georgia DUI checkpoint. The officers screening at the checkpoint must have adequate training and experience to determine whether drivers are driving under the influence.
If a DUI checkpoint fails to meet any of these requirements, it may be held unconstitutional by a Georgia court.
What Are They Looking For?
When law enforcement stops your car at a DUI checkpoint, they are looking for certain indicators which suggest a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These indicators include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred or incoherent speech
- Decreased motor function (e.g. fumbling with keys, license, or registration)
- Inability to answer simple questions
- The odor of drugs or alcohol
- Bottles of alcohol, drugs, or drug paraphernalia which are in plain view.
Can I Avoid a DUI Checkpoint?
Normal driving that happens to avoid a DUI checkpoint does not justify a stop by law enforcement. However, any abnormal or suspicious driving a driver takes to avoid a roadblock gives an officer reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to initiate a stop of your vehicle.
For example, assume a DUI checkpoint is two blocks ahead of you. You notice it and decide to turn right at the next intersection, you properly signal, and you drive in a reasonable way all the way through the turn. Police may not pull you over for legal driving.
If instead you see a DUI checkpoint ahead of you on a road with no way to turn, quickly pull a U-turn without signaling, and drive away, a police officer can pull you over under suspicion of avoiding the DUI checkpoint.
Consult With Your DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested as a result of a DUI checkpoint, it is important to know your rights and whether those rights were violated. Contact an experienced Georgia DUI attorney and fight back against your charges. Contact us for a free consultation before you lose your right to drive.