What are Your DUI Checkpoint Rights?
Each summer, the increased number of vehicles on the road leads to a large number of drunk driving accidents. The number of deaths related to motor vehicles doubles each summer, encouraging local law enforcement agencies to strictly enforce Georgia driving under the influence (DUI) laws. One common enforcement method is the use of DUI checkpoints. These checkpoints, or roadblocks, allow the police to stop traffic without having any specific suspicion regarding a crime being committed. Knowing what your DUI checkpoint rights are is vital if you are stopped this summer while driving in Georgia.
The Constitution of the United States promises that all people are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures. This constitutional right is often discussed immediately after any search conducted by law enforcement officials. In Georgia, traffic stops have come under fire before for not adequately advising drivers of their rights prior to conducting field sobriety checks. When you are stopped at a checkpoint, your constitutional rights are not waived. In order to be legal, the checkpoint cannot be overly intrusive, meaning the police must follow specific guidelines or risk being accused of conducting an unreasonable search and seizure.
Each checkpoint or roadblock set up by the police in Georgia must follow specific guidelines to avoid violating your legal rights. Always check to be sure the roadblock is obeying the following rules:
- Advance warning that a checkpoint is ahead must be given;
- The roadblock must be part of an ongoing campaign to reduce drunk driving or for another legitimate purpose;
- Checkpoints must be erected to avoid specific crimes such as drunk driving;
- The officers at the checkpoint must be in uniform;
- Traffic cannot be unreasonably delayed and every vehicle must be stopped;
- The officers at the checkpoint must be properly trained and the location must be chosen by a supervisor.
If these guidelines are not met, then the entire stop could be viewed as unconstitutional in a Georgia court.
The presence of a roadblock does not mean that your rights are waived. Law enforcement officers must meet state guidelines and your rights to refuse sobriety testing remain intact. While it is true that checkpoints can be used to protect the public if a high number of DUI related accidents have occurred in a specific area, it is also true that they can be used to make unsuspecting drivers incriminate themselves.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you or someone close to you is arrested after being stopped at DUI checkpoint, contact a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. It is possible that the techniques used when you were detained violated your rights. The experienced DUI lawyers at Yeargan, Barber & Kert are here to answer your questions and help you fight your charges. We can work with you to build a strong defense that protects you and those closest to you. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation so we can begin discussing your case with you today.