By Bubba Head, DUI Defense Attorney Atlanta
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.
Join the thousands of other Americans each year who fight their criminal charges that were initiated at DUI checkpoints. Let an experienced, well-versed DUI lawyer make every legal challenge available for winning the sobriety checkpoint case. Call our Atlanta criminal justice attorney firm at 404-567-5515 for a FREE case review. Call 24-7, and we will speak with you.
William Head, Larry Kohn, or Cory Yager will help you understand the many legal challenges that a DUI lawyer can make in DUI check point cases. No matter what county in Georgia, or whether you are charged with felony or misdemeanor offenses, we can help you.
Call 40-year veteran Atlanta DUI attorney Bubba Head today and get honest answers to all your questions. Tell us everything that happened and everything you remember about your DUI arrest. The sooner you call us, the better chance we have to win your case.
Remember, you only have 30 DAYS to file a license suspension appeal or apply for an ignition interlock device, or your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year! Talk to Bubba Head, Larry Kohn, or Cory Yager now. We are available 24 hours a day, weekends, and all major holidays. (404) 567-5515