If you’re a regular driver in the state of Georgia, you may have noticed sobriety checkpoints appear on the roads from time to time. These stops are intended to keep the roads safe by weeding out intoxicated drivers. Although 12 states have outlawed the use of checkpoints, they remain legal in the state of Georgia. Also known as DUI checkpoints, mobile checkpoints, or roadblocks, these traffic stops allow the police to legally pull you over without any “probable cause” or a suspicion of wrongdoing.
How They Work
DUI checkpoints are temporary with random locations, although the checkpoints must be publicized ahead of time. If you come across one of these roadblocks, you will be briefly stopped and interviewed by a police officer. Suspicious drivers will be asked to perform field sobriety tests, and with enough reason, they may be arrested with a DUI charge.
Legality of the Checkpoints
Do DUI checkpoints violate the Constitution? According to the United States Supreme Court, they are perfectly legal. While police officers usually need probable cause to stop you, the dangers of drunk driving are considered to be more important than the brief intrusion you’ll experience at a checkpoint.
DUI Checkpoint Dos and Don’ts
DO: Give the officer your license. The police can ask you for your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Make sure you have these ready and comply when asked.
DON’T: Commit an infraction to avoid the roadblock. Case law states that it’s fine to evade a roadblock, but if you take commit an infraction to avoid the roadblock (like failing to use a turn signal), officers may have reasonable grounds to stop you.
DO: Stay calm and stay quiet. It’s safe to tell the officer things like your name, age, and address, but there is no reason to share additional information if you haven’t been asked.
DON’T: Argue with the officer. While police usually need “probable cause” or a reasonable suspicion to pull you over, DUI checkpoints are the exception. Don’t argue, because the stop is completely legal.
DO: Understand the consequences of taking a state administered test. If you are arrested under suspicion of a DUI, Georgia’s implied consent law “requires” you to take a breath, blood, or urine test. But you can decline, with the consequence of a temporarily suspended license. You should weigh this consequence with the likelihood of the test resulting in incriminating evidence.
DON’T: Feel compelled to perform the roadside sobriety tests. Roadside tests like the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), one-leg stand, and the walk-and-turn are completely voluntary. You should understand that these tests are designed to provide the officer probable cause to arrest you.
DO: Call an attorney if you’re arrested. It can be overwhelming to think about your next steps when you’ve been arrested for a DUI, but a competent lawyer will know what to do.
If you’ve been arrested on suspicion of a DUI, you should immediately get in touch with an attorney. The lawyers at Savannah DUI can look at the facts of your case, considering the unique factors that come up in a DUI checkpoint, and defend your legal rights as a driver. Call us to get the assertive legal representation you deserve.