Georgia DUI Checkpoints

 

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DUI Checkpoints in Georgia

DUI checkpoints help law enforcement prevent severe injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving. While some consider the checkpoints a breach of search and seizure laws, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the use of DUI checkpoints due to the need to protect public citizens from drunk driving.

If you have been arrested at a DUI Checkpoint in Georgia and have issues related to how law enforcement handled the procedures, consult with an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer.

What Is a DUI Checkpoint?

DUI checkpoints are traffic stops placed at random intersections or roadways. Their primary purpose is to permit law enforcement officials to identify drivers who are under the influence through screening and sobriety tests. DUI checkpoints are usually conducted in areas with a high amount of traffic.

These checkpoints are often called roadblocks because law enforcement officials may block off a section of the roadway. While DUI checkpoints prevent drunk driving, they also serve other legal purposes, such as checking for driver’s licenses and registrations, enforcing safety rules such as seatbelt usage, and policing borders.

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Georgia?

Yes, according to DUI laws in Georgia, drivers of motor vehicles must stop and submit to a sobriety test by a law enforcement official when stopped as part of an ongoing plan to decrease drunk driving.

If you drive a motor vehicle in Georgia, law enforcement officials can single you out, question you, and administer field sobriety tests.

Georgia DUI Checkpoint Law

When law enforcement officers operate a DUI checkpoint in Georgia, they must follow predetermined guidelines. The following are the key points:

    • Law enforcement must provide a warning of when and where DUI checkpoints will be in operation.
    • Checkpoints should be located in areas where public safety is specifically promoted by having them.
    • The purpose of the checkpoint must be as specific as possible.
    • Officers stationed at the checkpoint must have the appropriate training and experience in order to determine which citizens need to be stopped at the DUI checkpoint and administered a sobriety test.
    • The locations of checkpoints must be clearly marked to warn drivers about them and prevent accidents from occurring.
    • Methods to determine if a driver is under the influence, such as sobriety tests, must be standardized.
    • All vehicles must be stopped. Random checks are not allowed.

    A DUI defense lawyer in Georgia understands Georgia’s DUI laws and will review the actions law enforcement officials took during the DUI checkpoint. Any actions that the officer took that violated Georgia’s DUI checkpoint laws will be raised in court as part of your defense.

      How Do Police Conduct DUI Checkpoints in Georgia?

      At a DUI checkpoint, a law enforcement official will engage you in a discussion to find out if you are driving while intoxicated. If an officer pulls you over, you will first be asked to roll down your window, after which the driver will ask for your driver’s license and registration.

      During discussions at the sobriety checkpoints, the officer conducting the test will be looking to see if you are uncoordinated, smell like alcohol, have trouble answering questions, or exhibit any other signs of intoxication. You will be required to perform a DUI field sobriety test or a preliminary alcohol screening test if you show signs of intoxication. Otherwise, you will be allowed to leave.

      What Time Do DUI Checkpoints Start in Georgia?

      DUI checkpoints in Georgia are usually set up late in the evening or early morning when there are more likely to be drunk drivers on the road. There is no specific time perimeter for the operations of a sobriety checkpoint. A checkpoint can last a whole weekend or a few days so long as it does not significantly inconvenience drivers.

      What Is the DUI Case Process After You are Arrested at a DUI checkpoint?

      The DUI case process consists of 6 basic steps.

      1. Administrative license suspension hearing – In Georgia, you have thirty (30) days from your arrest to request a hearing to appeal the officer’s decision to suspend your driver’s license or install an ignition interlock on your vehicle.
      2. Arraignment – This is the first court date you will attend once your case begins in the court system.  At this court date, your formal plea of not guilty or guilty is entered.  If a not guilty plea is entered at arraignment, which is what typically happens,  your lawyer has ten days to file motions in your case.
      3. Discovery period & case review – Your DUI defense lawyer will gather evidence, such as the police report, DUI test results, video surveillance footage, etc., to determine legal defense strategies.
      4. Negotiations and pleas – Your lawyer will open negotiations with the Georgia prosecutor to try to have DUI charges dismissed or reduced.
      5. Motions hearing – Both the prosecutor and your DUI defense lawyer will file pre-trial motions to admit or suppress evidence, which is ruled upon by the judge.
      6. DUI trial – You have the constitutional right to a jury or bench trial in your DUI case. A jury trial involves the selection of a 6-person jury. A bench trial is held before only the judge. In both types, the state prosecutor must prove you are guilty of DUI. The Judge imposes the sentence in both types of trials by considering your criminal history, the facts of the case, and the jury’s decision (if a jury trial was held.)

        How Effective Are DUI Checkpoints?

        DUI checkpoints are remarkably effective when appropriately conducted. The CDC reviewed several reliable studies and found that DUI checkpoints reduced alcohol-related fatal injury and property damage crashes by about 20%.

        How Can an Atlanta DUI Attorney Help You if Arrested at a Georgia DUI Checkpoint?

        A DUI conviction can impact your professional standing, future employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and overall quality of life. DUI laws can be tricky, and if you are unsuccessful in avoiding a DUI conviction, you may lose your rights to operate a motor vehicle. Sometimes you may even have to pay hefty fines and serve jail time.

        Consult with an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney to prepare a solid defense and represent you in court if necessary. Contact Chehimi Law for a free consultation to ensure your rights are protected, and there is a positive resolution to your DUI case.

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