As the holiday weekend approaches, police officers will likely be out in full force. One method of detecting and apprehending drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol is to implement a roadblock. A roadblock is a method of temporarily detaining drivers to determine whether they are impaired or not.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I know that while properly completed roadblocks are considered to be constitutional, they are subject to scrutiny under the Fourth Amendment and must be executed reasonably. "The Fourth Amendment imposes limits on search-and-seizure powers in order to prevent arbitrary and oppressive interference by enforcement officials with the privacy and personal security of individuals." United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, 544 (96 SCt 3074, 49 LE2d 1116) (1976). In today's post, I'm going to be discussing the law around DUI roadblocks in Georgia.
Roadblocks often lead to many DUIs in Georgia. This is partly because roadblocks have different levels of reasonable articulable suspicion to be considered valid. Unlike a "normal" DUI, an officer conducting a roadblock does not have to observe the driver doing anything suspicious to pull them over. In fact, in most DUI roadblock cases, there is generally little to no evidence of impaired driving. These cases weigh heavily on an officer's observations of slurring of the driver's speech, the smell of alcohol on their breath, etc.
Additionally, some certain precautions and standards must be met in order to ensure that the roadblock is conducted lawfully and constitutionally. This is why no person stopped and charged with DUI at a roadblock should ever plead guilty without speaking to an attorney and determining the validity of the roadblock involved in their case. Specifically, in every Georgia Roadblock, the following must be done to make a valid arrest:
- The roadblock must be set up for a legitimate purpose. For example, it can be a safety check, or seat belt check, or as the result of prior car accidents in the area – but it cannot be for a general law enforcement purpose.
- A police supervisor must make the decision to implement the roadblock – the supervisor must decide to have the roadblock and do it in a way that meets the requirements of legitimacy. Ordinary police officers cannot start their shift and decide to implement a roadblock on their own.
- Every vehicle must be stopped. They cannot selectively enforce the law or focus on any particular person, sex, or race.
- The roadblock must be clearly marked and must inform drivers where the roadblock is located and its purpose.
- The officer that comes up to your car must have sufficient training in DUI Detection in order to make the initial determination that the driver should be suspected of a DUI.
- The roadblock must not be randomly placed, moving, or roving.
- The roadblock must not create an unreasonable burden on businesses or drivers.
If you have been charged with a DUI after being stopped at a roadblock, you need an experienced DUI attorney now. As a Georgia DUI Attorney, I know that police officers do not always conduct these stops in a constitutionally sound way. You have rights. A DUI in Georgia is a serious charge – the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson is here to help. Call us today.
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