After a night out with your friends or on your way home from Happy Hour, the last thing you want to see is a DUI checkpoint. Unfortunately, if you come across one, your best bet is to go through it as normal rather than to try and turn around. Turning around will cast suspicion on you and likely result in a stop anyway. If you go through a DUI checkpoint and an attending officer arrests you for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may wonder, are such checkpoints legal in Georgia? If they are, did the officer act in a way that is in line with state law?
In response to your first question, are DUI checkpoints legal, the answer is yes. However, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, the state does not refer to them as checkpoints but rather, as roadblocks. Law enforcement may not conduct roadblocks for general crime control but rather, for only very specific reasons. Those reasons include to check and monitor driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, vehicle equipment and driver condition. Law enforcement may also conduct roadblocks to locate a person suspected of a crime.
For a roadblock to be legal, law enforcement must set it up in such a way that promotes highway safety and benefits the public. It should also safely maximize available personnel. Law enforcement must schedule roadblocks in advance and ensure that at least two uniformed officers can run it. The department must clearly identify roadblocks as checkpoints, and officers must stop all vehicles that drive through as opposed to conducting random stops. Moreover, screening officers’ experience and training must be sufficient to qualify them to determine if a motorist should undergo a field sobriety test. Finally, the department must be sure that the stop does not cause unreasonable or dangerous backup and, if it does, they must suspend it until the backup clears.
You should not construe this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.