By: William C. Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta GA and ABA Board-Certified DUI Attorney
In most countries, other than the USA, random roadblocks or suspicionless, warrantless pullovers by a police officer are legally permissible. These countries (like Australia) lack our United States Constitution.
While police pullovers of a moving vehicle must be supported by reasonable suspicion of a crime or equipment defect on the vehicle, traffic checkpoints for several limited purposes have been approved by our United States Supreme Court. Over the last 50 years, our high court has undertaken to define and limit the situations for which legitimate highway safety concerns would pass muster. Beyond these few traffic safety issues, including DUI interdiction, no other types of checkpoints are allowed.
Checkpoints can only be established by police for limited “legal” reasons, since any warrantless police encounter for a moving vehicle is considered to be “presumptively” illegal, under the 4th Amendment. For highway safety purposes, however, the use of police checkpoints has been conditionally approved, but only for a few restricted “public safety on our roadways” justifications. These approved driving safety reasons are drunk driving, safety belt use, proof of driver’s license, proper use of child restraints and booster seats, and proof of insurance.
One of the U.S. Supreme Court’s top concerns was to not have police officers in the field make the decision on the use of checkpoints. This decision as to when, where and for what purposes a DUI roadblock or license check must be made by a supervisor officer within the police department.
DUI checkpoint use is usually conducted in evening hours or early morning hours, and on weekend or holidays, while seat belt use and driver’s license validity in daytime. Sobriety checkpoint officers are needed for DUI checkpoints, and their training and experience is a prerequisite, so that drivers are not exposed to needless delays or possible wrongful arrests, by rookie officers.
For well over a decade, different inventors and technology geeks have sought to perfect the best DUI checkpoints app. About a decade ago, a checkpoint app for Apple was launched and then disapproved and taken down after safety advocates protested.
DUI checkpoint apps are only as good as the current information from other drivers who have already “spotted” a sobriety checkpoint location. So, their use is somewhat limited in value. Plus, some police forces stay at one checkpoint location for a couple of hours before relocating the road block to a new, approved check point location, to thwart the use of checkpoint apps. The device used by our attorneys in traveling the highways of Georgia, is the Waze app, which notifies drivers of “police ahead.”
For police at checkpoints, DUI arrests are the “gold standard” of their law enforcement duties. Similar to baseball and the “home run,” law enforcement officers at a “seat belt” check loath this boring work. Their home run is arresting suspected DUI drivers.
DUI checkpoints are where the action is, and the place that police officers feel they are doing the most “good.” Hence, the greatest emphasis and manpower (and publicity in the news) is focused on sobriety checkpoints, which are basically DWI-DUI checkpoints.
After being arrested for DUI in Georgia, the first thing to do it 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.