Roadblocks are frequently used to detect DUI drivers in the Buckhead and Atlanta areas. The Georgia State Patrol, City of Atlanta, and other law enforcement agencies will staff these roadblocks, often during peak hours for drunk driving; Friday and Saturday nights. In Buckhead, you will see roadblocks setup in very highly traveled locations, including on-ramps to GA 400. If you have been arrested for DUI at a roadblock in Buckhead, the following information will help you have an overview of how to defend your case and decide on the right DUI lawyer.
Are Roadblocks Legal?
The short answer is: YES, roadblocks, checkpoints, safety inspections, and the litany of other names given for these stops are OK. However, courts have consistently held that because of the intrusive nature of a roadblock, all without probable cause that you have done anything wrong, roadblocks must meet stricter criteria in Georgia in order to be valid. The important things for you to note and tell your attorney after a DUI arrest at a roadblock are:
- Was the roadblock clearly marked as a roadblock? Often times, clients will tell me they simply thought the were approaching an accident scene, because the roadblock only had one or two police cars with lights on, and the officers were not immediately visible. This could be problematic for the prosecutor trying to make a DUI case based on a roadblock.
- Was every car, or every other car pulled over? Again, courts have held that law enforcement must have a methodology in pulling over motorists at checkpoints. They cannot simply pull over vehicles at random, allowing some to pass without stopping and making others stop to be checked out.
- Was there a long delay because of the checkpoint? Courts have decided that how long you must wait at a DUI checkpoint is relevant in determining whether or not your rights have been violated or the roadblock is unconstitutional.
While there are several other factors that a good DUI defense attorney knows to analyze in your roadblock case, these are the 3 for you to make note of and tell your attorney about. Your attorney should also conduct a thorough investigation into the roadblock's approval and whether or not the agency conducting the operation had a valid purpose in doing so.
How Do I Fight a Roadblock?
Whenever my office gets a new DUI case that involves a roadblock, we always do a detailed investigation into the roadblock's merit. Even before your first court date, and throughout your case, we will be getting documents and evidence about your case as a whole, as well as the roadblock's validity. At your arraignment- the first court date usually noted on your tickets or bonding paperwork- we will plead Not Guilty to all of your charges and file additional discovery paperwork that will put the prosecutor on notice that they must produce all relevant documents, including those pertaining to the roadblock you were stopped at.
As your case progresses, we often will ask the Judge for a hearing to explore the validity and constitutionality of the roadblock you were stopped at. Judges frequently hear these issues on a separate court date from any trial, and will allow both sides to make arguments and call witnesses regarding the roadblock. Once we have filed the proper motions alleging the DUI checkpoint violated your rights, the prosecutor must prove the checkpoint's validity and convince the judge to let in other evidence of your DUI.
Does My Roadblock DUI Have a Video?
In roadblock cases, much to defense attorneys' dismay, there is often not a video of your arrest from roadblocks. Most Metro Atlanta and State Patrol officers will have video of all other DUI arrests, but it is common for them to simply not video tape a roadblock. This, of course, can be damaging to your case, as a video is the best evidence of exactly what happened during your arrest. Hopefully, more agencies will start producing video evidence from these DUI checkpoints, as they almost always have videos of other traffic stops and DUI encounters.
I Have Been Charged with DUI Because of a Roadblock. Now What?
If you were stopped at a roadblock and it lead to your arrest for DUI, contact us as soon as possible after your arrest. Regardless of how you were arrested for DUI, you have limited time to appeal and driver's license suspension that could result from your DUI. If it is alleged that your REFUSED to take the cop's chemical test, then filing an appeal becomes even more important, as you are facing a 1 year license suspension, without any hardship permit. This means driving is illegal, period.
During our initial consultation, we will discuss with you important issues to be aware of in your case, including:
DUI roadblock cases present an extra layer of challenges and you must have an attorney who is familiar and knowledgeable in fighting these cases. Call us today at(770) 676-1340 or email us directly at: email@example.com to discuss your particular case. If your case is out of our geographic area, we can certainly refer you to someone who is local to your case. We have offices in both Cumming and Dunwoody Georgia to serve the entire Metro and North Atlanta areas.