DUI Checkpoints in Georgia
DUI checkpoints have been used for years as a tool to crack down on drunk driving. There has been much speculation over whether or not these checkpoints violate an individual’s rights to unlawful stop and search and if they can legally be used to charge someone with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Here’s what you need to know about protecting your rights when it comes to DUI checkpoints.
Checkpoints Must Meet Specific Requirements
Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that DUI checkpoints are legal as long as they meet certain requirements. These requirements include:
The time and place of the checkpoint must be approved in advance by a police supervisor who had the authority to make the approval.
The purpose of the checkpoint must be specific — to check licenses, driver impairment, etc.
The checkpoint must be properly marked, with minimal delay to passing drivers.
Officers Look for Specific Signs
As vehicles come through a checkpoint, each one must be required to stop, but only certain drivers who raise an officer’s suspicion of driving under the influence may be instructed to pull over to be further investigated.
An officer will often look for signs, such as the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or poor coordination, to justify having you pull off to the side.
Can I Avoid a DUI Checkpoint?
The answer here is yes and no. You are able to make legal maneuvers, such as a U-turn or turning down a side street, to avoid a checkpoint, so long as it does not seem suspicious to an officer. However, if your driving seems erratic or an officer thinks you’re driving suspiciously, they may drive after you and pull you over.
Handling a DUI from a Checkpoint
Defending a DUI that results from a checkpoint is a complex process. There are many factors that can affect your defense and potentially have your charges dropped — which is why you need an experienced attorney on your side.
The team at The Lerch Law Firm has handled hundreds of DUI cases in the Savannah area for over a decade, and we always fight to defend your rights. Contact us today to schedule a free initial case review.