By: William C. Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta GA and ABA Board-Certified DUI Attorney
Because Georgia courts (State and Federal) have not mandated that DUI check points receive prior publicity about planned police checkpoints to deter drunk driving, it is helpful to know the likely sobriety check point locations in GA. Our Atlanta DUI lawyers keep track of DUI license checks in Georgia through our clients, news reports, and a statewide listserv. Where are the DUI checkpoints tonight? Here is how to find out.
These three common DUI roadblock locations or categories can be identified as probable locations (80% or more of all Georgia DUI checkpoints) for police calling for a driver’s license check, or sobriety checkpoints:
1. Metro Atlanta area counties have regular DUI checkpoints, especially where late-night food and adult beverage 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 a fisherman would go where the highest concentration of fish congregate at a lake.
2. Seasonal DUI checkpoint interdiction, when citizens will be celebrating and gathering for that occasion or holiday.
3. Events that tend to cause police checkpoints to be deployed, expecting a high percentage of drivers to have been drinking or smoking weed.
You won’t encounter police roadblocks on multi-lane, high-speed roadways, like interstate highways or Georgia 400 (north of Atlanta), or Highway 316 between I-85 in Gwinnett County and Athens-Clarke County, GA. However, since most people start driving TO one of those types of time-saving interstate highways, police officers tend to set up a DUI checkpoint on arterial roads and feeder roads that have access for or ramps to these limited access highways.
In Fulton County, GA, Sidney Marcus Boulevard in Buckhead is a longtime favorite of Atlanta police, since it connects Piedmont Avenue with Georgia 400, and is a route to get to I-85, another mile or so beyond GA 400. All of the side streets going east to west, between I-75 to the west of Buckhead, and Piedmont Road on the east of the Buckhead district are potential traps for drivers checking for “checkpoints near me.” Taking a longer route, or back roads, may lower the chance of passing through a DUI roadblock.
Holidays, for many, are days to drink. That is why Thanksgiving Day is the #1 day each year for the most DUI arrests. An occasional news story on local television news about DWI roadblocks being utilized often is being deployed in conjunction with upcoming holidays. Likely times of the year for checkpoint locations for holidays and annual events include:
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Cinco de Mayo
St. Patrick’s Day
Annual Church Picnic Events
This last category was described, in detail, by a Georgia Supreme Court Justice during oral arguments by Mr. Head for the defense and a Prosecutor from Forsyth County, GA in a famous DUI checkpoint case in 1998 (LaFontaine v. State). Apparently, when he was a speaker for a large African-American Church in DeKalb County, GA, he encountered a police roadblock. Apologizing to the Church Pastor for being late to the speaking engagement, he was told that it was not a problem, because ALL ROADS leading to that Church had DUI checkpoints set up EACH YEAR, and that all drivers were checked.
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 and Lakewood Amphitheater also have brought out additional police presence, which has included (in prior years) manned DUI checkpoints.
The SEC playoff in December, the Chik-Fil-A Bowl, Georgia Tech (football and basketball), Atlanta Braves games, Atlanta Falcons games, and Atlanta Hawks games are just a few of the events (mostly based in Atlanta) that can see sobriety checkpoints set up in peripheral counties like Cherokee County, Forsyth County, Douglas County, Clayton County, and Henry County. The Helen, GA area, known for its beer fest named “Oktoberfest”, is a favored October event for Georgia State Patrol DUI checkpoint locations in White County.
Police are aware of major sporting events for regular season games, and for playoff or bowl games, and will use safety checkpoints to “mop up” late night stragglers on their way home. By way of example, a University of Georgia home game in the fall months of each year will bring in about 100,000 additional people to Athens, GA, and a substantial number will be drinking alcohol. When the game ends, about 2 to 3 hours of heavy traffic will follow the game’s conclusion, as the clogged roadways leading out of town are packed with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Almost every major tributary except Highway 316 itself will have a sobriety checkpoint, at some point that evening.
Many out-of-town travelers decide to go Downtown Athens with friends, to tailgate longer, and drink more alcohol. Police do not try to run a sobriety checkpoint until hours after the game ends, because many accidents need servicing first. But later that evening, usually around midnight, major highways will have a checkpoint location set up. Depending on our opponent, these checks may be located in Oconee County, Barrow County, Oglethorpe County, Madison County or other places that have state highways (Highway 129, or 441, or 29, Highway 78) upon which many people travel.
Challenging the legality of DUI checkpoints is one the most successful ways our GA DUI lawyers win drunk driving cases at DUI checkpoint locations. If we can prove your road block arrest happened at an unapproved or defectively approved time or place, because of such a faulty DUI roadblock set-up, may result in your whole drunk driving case being thrown out. Over a dozen other legal issues can be raised, including improper check point purposes, untrained police personnel, and defective authorization procedures.
Call Bubba Head or his law partners, Larry Kohn and Cory Yager, for a FREE lawyer consultation, at (404) 567-5515 if you must fight a police checkpoint. Our DUI law firm’s partners lawyer ratings are stellar, with track records that are the envy of other Georgia DUI attorneys. Call NOW, since our 24-Hour Lawyers are ready to help you.
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 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) is also necessary.
The best DUI attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia will offer you a FREE consultation, explain how their criminal attorneys search for a successful defense in your case, and aggressively represent clients to the maximum extent the law allows. Limit your search to DUI lawyers who have legitimate lawyer ratings and a history of proven results on knowing how to beat a DUI. If we are the criminal defense attorneys for you, ask us about our attorney payment plans.
Call our DUI defense lawyers NOW, 24-7, for an initial case review and FREE legal advice: 404-567-5515, or email our criminal justice attorneys.
You can learn how to find DUI checkpoints online, or download a DUI checkpoints app to see a DUI checkpoint planned this weekend.