Gainesville DUI Checkpoint Results in Fatality

Law enforcement in Gainesville, Georgia reports that a confrontation at a DUI checkpoint recently resulted in a man killed, another individual arrested, and three law enforcement officers injured. The accident appears to have occurred when law enforcement officers were working a DUI checkpoint on Interstate 985 and a sports utility vehicle made an improper u-turn. Law enforcement chased the sports utility vehicle until the automobile crashed into a law enforcement vehicle.

Subsequently, the sports utility vehicle’s driver and passenger fled from authorities. Two law enforcement officers proceeded to pursue the suspects on a foot chase that lasted for nearly a mile. Eventually, law enforcement fatally shot one of the sports utility vehicle’s passengers. The other individual was taken into custody by law enforcement. The three injured law enforcement officers were subsequently taken to a nearby medical facility with non-life threatening injuries.

All motorists in Georgia should understand some of the key elements about DUI checkpoints are conducted.

Where Georgia DUI Checkpoints Occur

Sobriety checkpoints, which are sometimes referred to as “mobile checkpoints” or “roadblocks” are stops that are not triggered by any specific or individual suspicions. The locations that are used for checkpoints are temporary and random. During a sobriety checkpoint in Georgia, motorists are temporarily detained and interviewed.

Drivers who are determined to be suspicious during these checkpoints are then subject to sobriety tests. These checkpoints are designed to keep control over drunk drivers and increase the safety of the road.  

The Role of Probable Cause

The Constitution of Georgia requires that a law enforcement officer has probable cause in order to perform a traffic stop. The Supreme Court of the United States, however, has ruled that the dangers introduced by drunk driving significantly outweighs the degree of intrusion presented by sobriety checkpoints.

The Supreme Court has also ruled that sobriety checkpoints are a valid exception to the search and seizure provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

Requirements of Georgia Law Enforcement

Georgia law requires law enforcement to follow some specific guidelines while performing roadside sobriety checkpoints.

Checkpoints also must be part of an ongoing attempt to enforce drunk driving regulations. Motorists must also be warned that they are approaching a sobriety checkpoint. Law enforcement must also select a checkpoint with the best interest of the public safety in mind.

Advice for Motorists Traveling Through a Security Checkpoint

There are some basic pieces of information that individuals should remember when proceeding through a checkpoint, which include the following:

  • Deny a Vehicle Search: Although law enforcement does not require probable cause to stop an individual at a DUI checkpoint, law enforcement still requires a warrant, probable cause, or an individual’s permission in order to search a vehicle.
  • Maintain Composure: Losing one’s emotions will only make a situation much worse. By remaining calm and polite to law enforcement, individuals can make sure that encounter a security checkpoint can proceed more smoothly.
  • Refuse a Sobriety Test: If law enforcement decides to perform an investigation, law enforcement might ask an individual to perform some physical tests. Individuals do not have to submit to sobriety tests, and are able to refuse these tests without risk of penalty.

If law enforcement decides to arrest an individual at a sobriety checkpoint, it is a wise idea to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An Atlanta DUI lawyer like the legal counsel at Yeargan & Kert is able to examine the facts of your case and will fight tirelessly to make sure that your case resolves in a positive manner.