How Common are DUI Checkpoints?
What is the potential risk of running into a DUI checkpoint in Georgia, and is it a violation of your constitutional rights?
Because there is a nationwide need to crack down on drinking and driving, many states are instituting programs to reduce the number of DUI drivers. However, in some cases, these practices can violate your rights and privacy. One questionable technique is the DUI checkpoint. Georgia has instituted various roadside DUI checkpoints at which you could be pulled over without any probable cause.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence in Georgia after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint, you need to understand your rights and what the requirements are for these under Georgia law. If the checkpoint did not meet the specific Georgia requirements, you may be able to challenge the DUI charge and have your charges dropped. Each situation is different, which is why you need to speak with a skilled Norcross DUI attorney who can help.
DUI Checkpoint Requirements in Georgia
A DUI checkpoint can be unconstitutional if it does not meet the required legal guidelines. Law enforcement is prohibited from putting up a DUI checkpoint just at any place or time they want. There must be a decision made by a supervisory figure, not an officer in the field. Setting up a checkpoint requires a valid reason, and not just because law enforcement feels like it. It has to be to prevent and find specific crimes, like DUI.
If you come across a checkpoint, it must be marked as such and all officers need to be wearing uniforms. The officers conducting the checkpoint are prohibited from delaying traffic in an unreasonable manner. Each vehicle passing through must be stopped, but that does not mean each and every one must be pulled over for additional investigation. The officers cannot choose to do random stops at a DUI checkpoint in Georgia. The officers doing the screening must have the requisite training and experience to determine whether or not a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If law enforcement fails to meet all of the above requirements, the court could hold that DUI checkpoint as being unconstitutional and therefore a violation of your rights. This means your DUI charge could be dropped entirely.
Can You Avoid DUI Checkpoints in Georgia?
Since checkpoints can pop up all over the state, you may find yourself driving toward one without any prior warning. Your actions when approaching a checkpoint will determine how officers react and whether or not they will pull you over for trying to avoid the checkpoint. If you see a checkpoint several blocks ahead and you opt to make a turn at the next corner, you signal, obey traffic laws, etc., then the officer may not come pull you over. However, if you are nearing the checkpoint and suddenly take an illegal U-turn to avoid it, you may find yourself pulled over for suspicion of trying to avoid the checkpoint in place.
Contact a Norcross DUI Attorney
The legal disputes regarding Georgia DUI checkpoints have been happening for years. There are multiple appellate court decisions involving them, which is why the legal requirements are so strict. If you have been charged with a DUI after being stopped at a Georgia DUI checkpoint, do not delay in speaking with an attorney. Contact Zimmerman & Associates today to schedule a free consultation.