Law enforcement in Los Angeles County, California recently announced that actor Vince Vaughn has been charged with three misdemeanors including driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, and refusing to comply with law enforcement. Law enforcement reports that Vaughn repeatedly refused to get out of his vehicle when asked to do so at a sobriety checkpoint.
Law enforcement also reports that Vaughn failed a sobriety test that was recorded on an officer’s body camera. Vaughn has not yet entered a plea, but is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges.
Much like in the state of California, DUI checkpoints (also referred to as roadblocks) are legal in the state of Georgia. The United States Supreme Court has long held that roadblocks of this nature are not unconstitutional and do not violate your Fourth Amendment rights, which were created to protect against unreasonable searches and seizures. In conducting roadblocks, however, law enforcement must meet certain requirements. Failure to meet these requirements can provide the basis for a strong defense against a DUI charge.
The Fourth Amendment and DUI Checkpoints
The purpose of DUI checkpoints is to assess the sobriety of random drivers. Some of the signs that law enforcement looks for to determine whether a person is impaired by alcohol include the smell of alcohol, the presence of alcohol containers in the vehicle, bloodshot eyes, impaired motor skills, and slurred speech.
A person’s Fourth Amendment rights, however, protect unreasonable searches and seizures, which means these searches must be conducted in the most minimally intrusive way possible.
DUI Checkpoint Requirements
The state of Georgia is required to follow certain guidelines when performing DUI checkpoints, which include the following:
- The roadblock must be part of an ongoing to plan to decrease drunk driving
- The judicial system must support the roadblock
- There must be predetermined guidelines for conducting a DUI roadblock
- The roadblock must occur in an area where there is a specific reason for the checkpoint and the checkpoint must promote public safety
- Before reaching the checkpoint, there must be a warning that a roadblock is ahead
- Before approaching the roadblock, the presence of law enforcement must be visible
- The method of determining whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol must be standardized and determined before the roadblock is set up
- The public must be aggressively warned about the roadblock so that they can avoid it if they desire
Speak with an Experienced DUI Lawyer
A seasoned DUI attorney understands how to determine whether Georgia law enforcement followed all important regulations when planning your defense. If you were involved in a DUI checkpoint that did not follow the rules, there are likely strong grounds on which to base a defense.
As a result, if you were charged with a DUI, you should not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable Atlanta DUI lawyer at Yeargan & Kert LLC. We understand the law involved with these issues and will remain committed to making sure that you obtain the best possible results.