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Checkpoints: Sobriety Checkpoints & DUI Checkpoints Tonight

By: William C. Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta GA and ABA Board-Certified DUI Attorney

DUI Checkpoint Lawyers

Motor vehicle checkpoint cases should always be challenged by an experienced driving under the influence DUI specialist. A high percentage of victories, sometimes at the appellate level, have shown that sobriety checkpoint statistics favor accused citizens when aggressively litigated. All citizens become anxious when encountering checkpoints near me, because it is a restriction on our ability to move around freely.

An ideal, winnable case is a Georgia DUI checkpoint refusal to admit drinking, don’t try to do any field sobriety tests, nor take portable breath tests nor chemical tests on the Intoxilyzer 9000 implied consent test. As opposed to immigration border checkpoints, interdicting US citizens traveling to their destinations will be highly scrutinized.

Georgia courts (State and Federal) have not mandated that DUI check points receive prior publicity about planned police checkpoints. So, it is helpful to know the likely sobriety checkpoint/DUI locations in GA. Various technology manufacturers have capitalized on devices that purportedly know how to find DUI checkpoint locations.

Our Atlanta DUI lawyers near me keep statistics of law enforcement sobriety checks, and ad hoc state-ordered checkpoints. Many of these occurred during the COVID-19 beach screenings by Georgia State Patrol officers and Georgia DNR officers. In addition, we use a spreadsheet on DUI license checks in Georgia through reports given by our clients, news reports, and a statewide attorney listserv.

This Article tells you how to find out alcohol checkpoint locations. Plus, the recent Pandemic “stay at home order,” use of national guard troops, and other states’ residents quarantine for 14 days have led to some questionable “purposes” for state checkpoints at our borders. The lack of heavy nighttime traffic and the need for all to socially distance has cut check point use greatly in 2020.

The Ten Most Common Questions About Police Checkpoints

  1. What is the DUI checkpoint meaning? In 1990, in Michigan v. Sitz, a divided U.S. Supreme Court carved out an exception to the general rule that police in America must have a legitimate, articulable suspicion to pull over any motor vehicle driving on our highways.
  2. Are DUI checkpoints legal in the State of Georgia? Yes, so long as operated under 4th Amendment uniformity and pre-approval.
  3. Why aren’t D.U.I. checkpoints unconstitutional? The legality of sobriety checkpoints has been a huge topic of constitutional scholars in the United States.
  4. What is the best phone app to detect upcoming DUI checkpoints near me? WAZE app.
  5. Where are the most likely sobriety checkpoints locations? These three common DUI roadblock locations or categories can be identified as probable locations (80% or more of all DUI checkpoints Georgia) are for police calling for a driver’s license check, or sobriety checkpoints.
  6. Are specific holidays or events known for a high concentration of police roadblocks?

Holidays, for many Americans, are days to drink and “celebrate.” That is why Thanksgiving Day is the #1 day each year for the most DUI arrests. Police checkpoints Georgia are just a small percentage of Thanksgiving Day DUI arrests.

Likely times of the year for drunk driving checkpoints for holidays and annual events include:

Halloween

Thanksgiving

Christmas

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day

Memorial Day

Cinco de Mayo

Oktoberfest

St. Patrick’s Day

Labor Day

July 4th

Annual Church Picnic Events

This last category was described, in detail, by a Georgia Supreme Court Justice (Robert Benham) during oral arguments in 1998. Partner William Head argued for the defense and a Prosecutor from Forsyth County, GA argued for the State in this famous DUI checkpoint case, LaFontaine v. State. Apparently, when he was a speaker for the largest African-American Church in DeKalb County, GA, he encountered a police roadblock.

Apologizing to the Church Pastor for being late to the speaking engagement, the officer was told that it was not a problem. This was because ALL ROADS leading to that Church had DUI checkpoints set up EACH YEAR during their church celebration, and that all approaching drivers were checked.

Examples: The SEC college football playoff in December; the Chik-Fil-A Bowl,;Georgia Tech (football and basketball); Atlanta Braves games, Atlanta Falcons games, and Atlanta Hawks games.

  1. Metro Atlanta area counties have regular DUI checkpoints, especially where late-night food and alcohol establishments are found. The high concentration of people (about half of the entire population of Georgia) in the four metro counties, merits setting up checkpoints regularly, much like fisherman would go where the highest concentration of fish congregate at a lake.

For the past decade or so, DragonCon in September has become a big, annual multi-day event for heavy alcohol consumption. But, college bowl games, NCAA playoffs, and regular season sporting events bring out many people who have consumed alcoholic beverages, and (therefore) may be a drunk driver. Outdoor concerts at Verizon Amphitheater (now the Amerisbank Amphitheater) and Lakewood Amphitheater also have brought out additional police presence, which has included (in prior years) manned DUI checkpoints.

  1. Seasonal DUI checkpoint interdiction, when citizens will be celebrating and gathering for that occasion or holiday.
  2. Events that tend to cause police checkpoints near me to be deployed, expecting a high percentage of drivers to have been drinking or smoking weed.
  1. How do DUI checkpoints work? Fourth Amendment guidelines for R/B stops require written, programmatic pre-approval at the supervisory level. This includes the roadway site for the roadblock, along with a stated purpose (e.g., safety check of seat belts, sobriety, license checks, and car liability insurance). Plus, a pre-planning meeting detailing the minimum manpower to be deployed and protocols to be followed is mandated.
  2. What time do DUI checkpoints start? On average, around midnight, plus or minus an hour. Exceptions exist, such as after a UGA afternoon football game, thus possibly starting around 9 PM.
  3. How long do DUI checkpoints last? Usually 1 to 3 hours, and this must be pre-approved by a supervisory police commander.
  4. Are DUI checkpoints effective? No, according the nation’s most famous case, Michigan v. Sitz.

What Kind of Attorney Do I Need? Searching for The Best DUI Lawyer

After being arrested for DUI in Georgia, the first thing to do is identify an expert on Georgia DUI law through top attorney ratings. Look at who is BEHIND the law firm, review each of the trial lawyers’ credentials, and check out the criminal defense attorney who leads the law office. Every experienced DUI lawyer in the law firm near me must have full command of DUI laws and possess training in all aspects of successfully challenging the driving under the influence criminal case.

This successful defense record must include suppressing breath alcohol tests, and knowing every prior appellate decision on the Georgia implied consent law. An increasing number of drugged driving cases require that our criminal defense lawyers know how to challenge a GBI blood alcohol or drugs test. Being an INSTRUCTOR in the three NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests (SFST) also is necessary.

Call our DUI defense lawyers near me NOW, 24-7, for an initial case review and FREE legal advice404-567-5515 or email our criminal justice attorneys. Super Lawyers Cory Yager (an ex-cop), Larry Kohn and William Head are ready to help find ways to beat a DUI roadblock case.

You can learn how to find DUI checkpoints online or download a DUI checkpoints app to see a DUI checkpoint planned for this weekend.

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