By: William C. Head, Atlanta DUI Attorney
Georgia Appellate Cases Explain Why DUI Checkpoints Are Deemed to Be Unconstitutional – A Pre-Trial Motion in Limine or Suppression Motion Can Win a DUI, Without the Need for Trial
DUI checkpoints cannot be used by police UNLESS all constitutional requirements are met. The way a Georgia DUI attorney uncovers errors is often through demanding a pre-trial motion hearing. At this hearing your criminal defense lawyer can question key law enforcement officers who were present at the police checkpoint to bring out flaws in the police procedures.
A judge hears this evidence, and either GRANTS the motion in limine, or suppression motion, or DENIES it. Whenever a person stopped at a DUI checkpoint does not FIGHT the roadblock evidence, this opportunity to beat a DUI is completely lost.
The best DUI lawyers will typically file a pre-trial, detailed, and particularized motion in limine, and a suppression motion, in almost every DUI defense case. Simply stated, a motion in limine is a motion intending to LIMIT the Prosecutor’s use of certain objectionable evidence, such as an HGN eye test, or the breath alcohol test results obtained by police by violating some aspect of the Georgia implied consent law.
A suppression motion usually denotes a Constitutional law violation, such as seeking to dismiss a DUI entirely, due to a DUI checkpoint in Georgia being operated illegally.
This passage from a key Georgia DUI checkpoints case is a word-for-word reprint of whet the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled, in throwing out a DUI checkpoint in GA. The purpose of posting the wording here is to demonstrate that a motion in limine or suppression motion MAY win your DUI case, and you will never have to go to trial.
“Although he stated that he holds a supervisory position and that it was his decision to implement the roadblock, the roadblock was approved in writing by his supervisor, Major Carson Knight. Hartwell testified that he made the decision about when and where to have the roadblock. He also testified that the purpose of the roadblock was “a license/DUI checkpoint.” But he went on to explain that the decision to implement the roadblock was based on broader concerns: “We’ve just had an influx of drug cases, me and the guys that we work with, and we just thought that […,] and the DUI, we’ve had a lot of DUIs during that time frame….”
“A police roadblock is constitutional provided that, among other things, the decision to implement the roadblock was made by supervisory personnel rather than officers in the field. Moreover, the supervisory officers must have a valid primary purpose for the roadblock other than merely seeking to uncover evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing [such as drug trafficking]. In establishing the lawfulness of a roadblock, the State has the burden of presenting some admissible evidence, testimonial or written, that supervisory officers decided to implement the roadblock, decided when and where to implement it, and had a legitimate primary purpose for it.”
State v. Morgan, 267 Ga.App. 728, 600 S.E.2d 767 (2004)
In one of Atlanta DUI attorney William Head’s appeals, State v. Ayers, 257 Ga.App. 117570 S.E.2d 603 (2002), the Georgia Court of Appeals highlighted his cross-examination of the DUI checkpoint supervisor, Doraville police Sgt. Tommy McElroy, and obtained the key testimony that led to the entire dismissal of the client’s sobriety checkpoint case at a pre-trial motion hearing. The DUI lawyer Atlanta (through cross-examination) revealed the flaws in the City of Doraville’s DUI checkpoints written protocols for its supervisory officers.
At the hearing on Ayers’s motion to suppress, the officer who set up the roadblock testified as follows: “The license safety checkpoint allows us to check mass quantities of vehicles at one location so that we enforce all of the laws of the State of Georgia, and the county ordinances.”
Defense counsel (Atlanta DUI lawyer William C. Head) asked: “What I wanted to focus on is, is what you’re saying is that the means of enforcing the law is setting up the license checkpoint; but the purpose of the roadblock is general law enforcement?” The officer answered: “Absolutely. There’s no—there are no specific reasons that we stop and check. We check everything, license, insurance. We walk around behind and check the tag. Of course, we talk to the people.”
At another point, the officer testified:
Answer: I don’t know what you mean by setting the purpose of it. The purpose is to enforce the laws.
Question: General law enforcement?
Answer: Every law. It doesn’t matter. …
Question: And the primary purpose of this checkpoint was not just licenses?
Answer: That’s correct.
Question: It was general law enforcement?
Answer: It was—yes. Enforce all the laws of the State of Georgia. …
Question: The primary purpose of this roadblock though, if I understand—.
Answer: To enforce the laws of the State of Georgia. …
Question: You did not pick out any particular primary purpose other than general law enforcement?
In light of the officer’s testimony as set out above, we conclude that there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s finding that the purpose of the roadblock was general law enforcement.
Atlanta Board Certified DUI lawyer William C. (Bubba) Head has been a DUI lawyer for over 40 years. Since almost all DUI checkpoints are put in place to try to interdict driving under the influence, these cases are routinely part of his DUI defense cases. He and his law partners have won over 100 DUI checkpoint cases, and most have been won at the pre-trial motion phase of the case.
DUI lawyer Larry Kohn has worked with Mr. Head for 20 years. Mr. Kohn is a 2017 Super Lawyer, and has over 330 five-star attorney reviews posted at AVVO.com by his former clients. Another DUI lawyer, Cory Yager, is an ex-law enforcement officer who was part of police checkpoints at both Cobb County Police and at the Roswell Police Department.
The five-time Super Lawyer Rising Star has earned a sterling reputation in DUI law practice, and has won statewide awards for his ability to settle difficult DUI cases prior to trial. His prior police training, where he was a Field Training Officer, provides Mr. Yager with special insight into sobriety checkpoints and the flaws that help our criminal defense lawyers WIN when others do not.
Mr. Head’s DUI lawyer reviews on AVVO.com verify his skills at winning, and show why he is considered by most attorneys in Atlanta to be the best Atlanta DUI lawyer. A Super Lawyer in Georgia since 2004 (when the attorney rating platform began), Mr. Head has been called Atlanta’s Best DUI attorney by numerous lawyer rating services or publications.
For example, he was named as best Georgia DUI attorney by BestLawyers.com for the years 2012 and 2017. The 2012 recognition also brought a short biographical profile of Mr. Head in the Best Lawyers’ magazine, as being Georgia’s top DUI lawyer.
In January of 1991, Bubba Head published the FIRST book ever on How to Beat a DUI, which was entitled, “101 Ways to Avoid a Drunk Driving Conviction.” Mr. Head’s 5-star attorney ratings by previous clients are effusive. From these types of accolades, the Atlanta DUI attorney’s reputation as senior partner at one of the top DUI law firms in America is well-known by Atlanta lawyers.
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Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney and DUI book author, William C. “Bubba” Head, has been a Life Member of both the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for over two decades. The DUI lawyer based out of Atlanta GA is Board-Certified, a recognition shared by only four criminal defense attorneys in all of Georgia.
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