Copyright 2017 By William C. Head, Georgia DUI Attorney
This article is written by a DUI attorney who has (for over four decades) defended accused clients who were arrested at DUI check points. A checkpoint is nothing more than a roadblock, but the term “roadblocks” is not as politically correct as “checkpoints.”
From a legal standpoint, these are suspicionless, warrantless police actions that are a clear violation of our search and seizure laws, both state and federal. Today, however, and for almost 30 years, the Fourth Amendment has been shoved aside in the interest of traffic safety, BUT ONLY when all protective steps and measures have been followed by police at their sobriety checkpoints.
The purpose of supplying this information is to let you know that DUI check points CAN be successfully attacked, and won, if your DUI lawyer is fully versed on all aspects of DUI defense, and has proven that he or she knows how to beat a DUI.
William Head, a Board Certified Atlanta DUI lawyer, explains many ways to win your drunk driving case when DUI checkpoints VIOLATE the Constitution. As you will learn below, no matter how high your breathalyzer test may have been, or how sloppy drunk on the video you were, a ruling of unconstitutionality by your court (at a pretrial motion hearing requested by your drunk driving lawyer) that declares the police check points to have been illegal, WINS the case. Furthermore, the #1 most important factor in winning a DUI checkpoint case is the quality and experience level of the DUI attorney that you hire.
If you were unlucky enough to pass through a DUI checkpoint masquerading as a GA driver’s license check (GA DL check), a Georgia driver’s license status screening, or a roadside check of possible violations of Georgia seatbelt law, these “safety” purposes have been deemed to be a proper “purpose” under the constitutional analysis of DUI check points in Georgia.
However, a proper purpose is only the initial point of review, by the DUI attorney, of the constitutional use of DUI roadblocks. Your DUI defense attorney will know much more about the requirements of compliance with your State DUI law and Federal Fourth Amendment constitutional law on DUI checkpoints.
If you were arrested at a DUI roadblock, you may not be able to afford private legal counsel to handle your checkpoint case. You need to be represented in your roadblock case by a DUI attorney who has researched all related appellate cases. For the best criminal attorneys, the DUI lawyer cost can be substantial.
If (due to your indigent status or inability to pay DUI attorney fees) your criminal defense lawyer is a public defender, or an appointed DUI lawyer, you need to ask direct, targeted questions of that indigent defender, about how he or she plans to attack the legality of the random sobriety checkpoint. Print off this web page, so that you can help him or her find relevant Georgia DUI laws, and Georgia license check cases.
Your burning question is, “Can a DUI lawyer explain to me how to handle a DUI roadblock case if I can’t pay legal fees?” The answer is yes! Mr. Head has counseled thousands of potential clients during his FREE professional case review. Plus, he has written numerous books on drunk driving. If you contact him by email, he will gladly send you a PDF copy of his DUI book, which was written for clients. firstname.lastname@example.org. He cannot undertake representing accused citizens for FREE, because the State does not pay him, as it does the public defenders.
About 1 in 20 of people facing DUI in Georgia were stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Many motorists are arrested at random check points across the State of Georgia, but almost 40% of those drunk driving arrests are made at a police checkpoint in the four major metro counties of Atlanta: Fulton County, Cobb County, Gwinnett County, and DeKalb County. Mr. Head has handled DUI roadblocks from Valdosta to Albany, Athens-Clarke County, Columbus, Savannah, Macon, and in the counties of the North Georgia mountains especially during Oktoberfest, including White County, Towns County, Rabun County, Fannin County, and Union County.
As stated, the metro Atlanta, GA area has the highest use of impaired driver check points in Georgia to conduct random stops of possible drinking drivers or drug-impaired motorists. Don’t immediately assume that you will be found guilty of DUI in GA, and do not assume that the DUI checkpoint where you were stopped was constitutional. On the contrary, roadblocks are presumptively unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, unless police have crossed every “t” and dotted every “i.” By reading below, you will be informed of what to look for, and how to document police checkpoint violations, regardless of the posted “purpose” or stated purpose verbalized by a supervisory police officer.
DUI checkpoints in Georgia are not set up on interstate highways or other high-speed roadways like Georgia 400 north of Atlanta, due to the safety concerns of high-volume roadways. But you can expect to encounter a police road check on “feeder” roads that connect to and cross over interstate highways. Law enforcement officers will set up sobriety checkpoint locations on any streets that are natural pathways from late-night alcohol establishments, such as in the trendy Buckhead area in Atlanta GA.
DUI roadblocks in metro Atlanta counties are the most common in the State, simply due to the higher population and the dense concentration of alcohol establishments. The odds of stopping a drunk driver in higher population areas is statistically better.
Seasonal events and holidays traditionally trigger an increase in DWI checkpoints. In the Fall months in Georgia, the late September through most of November mountain festivals (e.g., Oktoberfest, Helen, Blue Ridge, Ellijay, GA) in the North GA mountains are always a favorite spot for Georgia State Patrol officers to set up DUI check points seeking to arrest people for DUI in Georgia. The White County Sheriff’s Department, Rabun County Sheriff’s Department, Fannin County Sheriff’s Department, Gilmer County Sheriff’s Department, and other Northeast Georgia police agencies will sometimes combine forces to set up GA license check. The detained motorists may be told that it is a GA driver’s license check, but due to the beer drinking festivals, these are sobriety checkpoints, in reality.
Likewise, summertime and boating on Georgia’s numerous lakes will bring out many DWI checkpoints or Georgia DL check deployments. In the late afternoon, as drivers start back home, roadways will be targeted for violations of Georgia DUI laws. Typically, police check point locations are set up to interdict outgoing traffic from Lake Lanier, Lake Sinclair, Lake Oconee, Lake Hartwell, and other boating under the influence (BUI) and impaired driving hotspots, as people start home from a day in the sun.
An arrest for driving while intoxicated can devastate a career. But, when no accident or bad driving was observed, DUI roadblock arrest is particularly troubling. Contact our 24-hour lawyers, because we go anywhere in GA. Checkpoints can be from any city or county in Georgia. Call William Head, Larry Kohn or Cory Yager for legal help.
The call to our DUI law firm is FREE and the professional case review is FREE. CALL (404) 567-5515. Like hiring a knee replacement doctor, you want someone who does this type of thing EVERY day. Experience in winning is an important criterial for hiring a top DUI lawyer.