Roadblocks and Sobriety Checkpoints

Posted by Richard Lawson | May 21, 2012 | 0 Comments

Roadblocks and sobriety checkpoints have been a heavily used tool of law enforcement in order to detect and apprehend DUI offenders. If you have been charged with DUI after being pulled over at one of these roadside checkpoints, you need to contact an experienced attorney to evaluate your case and to determine whether the roadblock was properly implemented. In Georgia, law enforcement officers running checkpoints are required to follow certain protocol. The decision to implement a roadblock must be made by supervisory personnel, rather than officers in the field. There must be predetermined procedures in place to operate the roadblock and it must have a legitimate purpose.

All passing vehicles must be stopped meaning the officers do not have discretion to stop certain vehicles and not others, the delay to motorist must be minimal and the roadblock itself must be well identified as a police checkpoint, and any prolonged detention of a vehicle must be based upon specific, articulable facts observed by the officer. When you are stopped at a roadblock, no matter the primary purpose of the checkpoint, the officer will be looking for signs of intoxication – bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol, open containers in the vehicle, slurred speech and other "suspicious" behavior.

The same rules apply to the officers at a roadblock as they would during a typical traffic stop, however. You are required to provide identifying information such as your name, address, driver's license, and registration. but you are not required to say anything further. You do not have to answer any questions about alcohol or drug use. Officers must have probable cause to arrest you for DUI and will ask that you step out of your vehicle and perform field sobriety tests in order to determine whether you are less safe to drive. Field sobriety tests at a roadblock are still completely voluntary – you do not have to submit to these tests!

You are required to submit to chemical testing of your breath or blood under Georgia implied consent law, however, and refusing this testing will result in the suspension of your Georgia driver's license or privileges. Many drivers will be pulled over because an officer believed you were attempting to avoid a roadblock nearby. If no traffic violation occurred, though, a skilled lawyer can argue that there was no basis for the officer to stop you, making any subsequent arrest invalid. An officer is justified in investigating anyone who is reasonably suspected of attempting to avoid a roadblock, however. There must have been a reasonable, legitimate purpose for the behavior that is alleged to have been "suspicious" and no traffic violation must have occurred.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard S. Lawson is passionate about intoxicated driving defense. Unlike some attorneys, Mr. Lawson devotes 100% of his legal practice to helping people stand up for their rights against DUI charges. For more than 20 years, Mr. Lawson has dutifully fought for his clients' freedom, resolving more 4,900 impaired driving cases during the course of his career. Today, Mr. Lawson has developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and continues to help clients by fighting to keep them out of jail.


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