By: William C. Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta and ABA Board-Certified DUI Attorney
About 1 in 20 of people facing DUI in Georgia were stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Many motorists are arrested for driving under the influence at random checkpoints 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 checkpoints in Georgia to conduct random stops of possible drinking drivers or drug-impaired. Don’t immediately assume that you will be found guilty of DUI in GA, and do not assume that the DUI-DWI checkpoints legality where you were stopped was constitutional. On the contrary, roadblocks in Georgia are presumptively unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, unless police have crossed every “t” and dotted every “i.”
The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution protects citizens against warrantless searches and seizures. By reading about the constitutional legality of DUI checkpoints 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. Winning the DUI case at a pre-trial motion hearing, seeking to exclude unconstitutional evidence, is the way for your drunk driving lawyer to win these cases.
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. Additionally, entertainment (e.g., music concerts, pro football, pro baseball) and marketing events like DragonCon bring many revelers, and the DUI arrest numbers will jump, after such events in metro Atlanta. 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 checkpoints 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 checkpoint 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.
After being arrested for DWI-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 DUI law firm, review each of the trial lawyers’ credentials, and check out the criminal defense attorney who leads the criminal law office. Every experienced GA DUI lawyer in the law firm must have full command of drunk driving laws and possess training in all aspects of successfully challenging the driving under the influence criminal case.
This successful defense record of your legal advocate 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, and each of our criminal attorneys has this training.
The best DUI defense 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 for legal counsel to Georgia 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 Atlanta DUI defense lawyers NOW, 24-7, for an initial case review and FREE legal advice: 404-567-5515, or email our criminal justice attorneys.