Safety Checkpoints and DUI
As the summer holiday season begins, DUI safety check points are going to be starting as well. While you are out celebrating the upcoming Memorial day weekend, Father's day and Fourth of July, the police departments will be on the look out for impaired drivers, and the easiest way to find them is a Safety Check Point.
If you are in a safety check point and merely have the smell of alcohol on you, that may be enough for the officer to initiate a DUI investigation. No less safe driving needs to be seen by the officer, just the smell and other physical clues (bloodshot eyes, slurring of speech, fumbling for your license etc..) can be enough to start a costly trip to jail and court putting your license and and freedom at risk.
However, there are rules that all safety checkpoints must follow in the State of Georgia to be valid and allow officers to conduct DUI investigations without any proof of less safe driving. Per the Georgia Department of Public Safety policy manual section 17.16 each of the following criteria must be met:
- The decision to implement the roadblock shall be made by supervisory personnel in advance rather than by field personnel, including the time and location of the roadblock.
- The supervisor must implement the roadblock for a legitimate primary purpose, which shall be to monitor and check driver's licenses, driver condition, vehicle registration, vehicle equipment and other requirements of the Georgia motor vehicle and traffic code or to locate a suspected criminal likely to be in the area. The primary purpose shall not be general crime detection.
- Roadblocks must be conducted pursuant to a plan developed by supervisory personnel that establishes explicit and neutral criteria for all aspects of the roadblock.
- All vehicles must be stopped as opposed to random vehicle stops. The roadblock may be temporarily suspended to avoid unreasonable or dangerous backup and then resumed after the backup is clear.
- The delay to motorists must be minimal.
- The roadblock must be clearly identified as a police checkpoint.
- There must be a minimum of two uniformed officers at a roadblock. A Trooper/sworn member may hold a roadblock with a deputy sheriff or a city/county police officer. Traffic volume will determine the number of personnel needed for a roadblock.
- The screening officer's training and experience must be sufficient to qualify the officer to make an initial determination as to which motorists should be given field sobriety evaluations.
The Georgia Court of Appeals in Baker v. The State ruled that if even one of the above criteria is not met, then the evidence gathered after the stop is to be excluded.
Have you been arrested for DUI based on a Roadblock stop?
Every case is different because no two sets of facts are the same. Proper application of not just the law but also case law to your situation would take examination of the facts surrounding your case and creating a properly mounted defense for YOUR arrest.
Our office has 24 hour response lines and can answer your questions and help you. Give our team of lawyers a call at 404-445-8494. We can help you mount a proper defense for your situation.