DUI Checkpoints are also known as sobriety checkpoints, and they are designated locations where law enforcement officers stop and check drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. American motorists search the Internet on how to detect checkpoints tens of thousands of times per month. It appears people do not like sobriety checkpoints, but they are permitted in 38 states, including Georgia. Since the decision in Michigan v. Sitz 496 U.S. 444 (1990), the United States Supreme Court has deemed DUI checkpoints legal and considers the danger of drunk driving to be more important than the brief intrusion you experience at a checkpoint.
There have been dozens of cases that have gone before the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court concerning the legality of Georgia DUI checkpoints. Over the years, our courts have set out some ground rules for Georgia DUI roadblocks.
- The DUI roadblock must be staffed by experienced DUI enforcement officers and must be implemented in a reasonable manner.
- All vehicles must be stopped, not just ones that the officers deem suspicious.
- The delay to drivers must be minimal.
- Supervising officers must approve the DUI checkpoint along with the location and screening protocols. This means that officers cannot extend a checkpoint another day if they were only approved for one day. It also means that the location cannot be random.
- The checkpoint must be approved at the “programmatic level,” and must be for a legitimate purpose.
- Screening officers must be sufficiently trained to detect DUI drivers while being able to quickly release people who are not impaired.
What Happens at a DUI Checkpoint?
If you come across one of the roadblocks, you will be briefly stopped and interviewed by a police officer. They will likely ask you for your license and registration and possibly ask where you are coming from/where are you going. If the officer has a reason to suspect you have been drinking, you may be asked to perform field sobriety tests. Furthermore, if there is enough reason, you could be arrested for a DUI charge.
If you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, here is a list of things to do:
- Give the officer your license and registration
- Stay calm and stay quiet
- Don't argue with the officer
- Don't commit a traffic violation while trying to avoid the roadblock. (like failing to use a turn signal)
- Call an attorney if you are arrested
- Never forget you have only 30 days to save your license. Call an experienced Georgia DUI Attorney right away.
How to Avoid a Road Block?
Unfortunately, there is no app or current technology that specifically identifies police checkpoints near you. However, people do use Waze to intensify where police are patrolling. You cannot rely on Waze since it is only as good as the people are who add the information.
However, there are some things to know about checkpoints that can help. It is highly unlikely that you will see a DUI roadblock on the interstate or a divided highway because the safety of the driver and officers could be compromised due to speed.
Smaller roads that feed into areas of bars and restaurants are good spots for DUI checkpoints. Also, roads near sporting event areas, parks, or concert locations are where roadblocks are more likely to be placed.
When do DUI Checkpoints Usually Occur?
Most roadblocks occur between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. These tend to be the hours when more people are consuming alcohol or drugs. Likewise, checkpoints are more likely to occur on the weekend than a weeknight. Parties, sporting events, and social gatherings are in great supply on the weekends, and many of them include alcohol.
Ultimately, you should not be drinking or driving, but if you have received a DUI at a sobriety checkpoint, you need an experienced Georgia DUI Lawyer. We know that not all checkpoints are conducted legally, and we know how to fight for your case. Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation.