It is a fair question for one to pose about DUI checkpoints: what if the driver simply speeds off? In this situation, what may the police do? What response is within their rights as law enforcement officers? A recent case has drawn attention to this question. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into a state Trooper's 'use of force' after shooting a man who sped off at a DUI checkpoint. Upon first reading headlines of the incident, one would assume that police fired at the man the moment he fled, but this is not the case.
The incident began when Jarvis Lykes, 35, did not stop his vehicle while passing through a DUI checkpoint in Columbus, Georgia, on the evening of December 29th. Police then pursued Lykes' vehicle. He led them to a dead end street and stepped out of his Kia Forte, an altercation ensued between Lykes and an unnamed trooper. The trooper fired one shot which hit Lykes in the upper torso. He was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead from the injury. A handgun was found in the glove compartment when police searched Lykes' vehicle.
Police Shootings in Georgia: Stats
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation's (GBI) inquiry into the matter is standard protocol in use of force cases. In 2017, there were 97 such investigations; in 2016, there were 83. Records show that police shot and killed 184 people in the state between 2010 and 2016, averaging 30 shootings per year or 1 shooting every 12 days - a rate that may seem low given the volume of incidents police are involved in on an annual and regular basis. The majority of these shootings were clustered in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Five out of six individuals shot were armed. 10 out of 184 were tried. None of the officers were indicted.
Although in Lykes' case, he was shot after evading a DUI checkpoint, shootings and use of force are very rare in DUI cases.
Use of Force in DUI Cases
When use of force and DUIs intersect, they are usually associated with a blood draw. Although use of force can occur other ways in the context of a DUI, the majority of headlines dealing in DUIs and use of force discuss the legality of forcible blood draws.
Georgia law holds that a driver's consent to have their blood or breath tested is "implied," and all those stopped under suspicion of a DUI 'ought' to comply. Not all drivers do. Although it is within their rights to refuse, their driving privileges will be revoked automatically for one year. Despite their right to refuse, police can obtain a warrant for a blood draw and the sample can be obtained forcibly. This is not exceptionally common, but it happens.
Georgia DUI Attorney
Use of force at DUI checkpoints does not always involve a gun. Disputes have arisen over a number of issues, including blood draws, probable cause and implied consent. If you were arrested in Georgia for driving under the influence, you will need an experienced Georgia DUI attorney to review the specifics of your case and ensure none of your rights were violated. DUI cases are time sensitive; the future of your driving privileges depend on how quickly you contact an attorney. Contact a Georgia DUI attorney online immediately or call today at (404) 816-4440.