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Category Archives: Georgia DUI Information

Georgia DUI Information

Sobriety Checkpoints and Civil Liberties

The  fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights states that:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmations, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Thus the Constitution protects drivers from being stopped without a search warrant or at least “probable cause.”

The Michigan Supreme Court found sobriety checkpoints to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.  However, in a split decision, the US Supreme Court reversed the Michigan Court, thus allowing roadblocks but under certain conditions. Although acknowledging that such roadblocks violate a fundamental constitutional right, Chief Justice Rehnquist argued that they are necessary in order to reduce drunk driving.  That is, he argued that the end justifies the means.   This is “the DUI exception to the Constitution.”

Now the question: Do Sobriety Checkpoints violate our individual liberties?

Unconstitutional Sobriety Checkpoints, that violate a person’s right to privacy and violate their protection from unwarranted search and seizure, are not the answer to solving the Drunk Driving issue. Other methods need to be adopted that target the root of the problem, instead of subjecting all drivers to unnecessary suspicion and time delays.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), strongly promotes sobriety roadblocks implying that they are legal throughout the entire nation without exception. It says that “the U.S. Supreme Court on June 14, 1990 upheld the use of sobriety checkpoints to detect and deter impaired drivers. Previous appeals to the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of such checkpoints had been declined, which allowed high state court rulings to stand. The June 14, 1990 ruling clearly upheld the constitutionality of such enforcement measures.”

Critics of roadblocks are discredited and even finger pointed as being drunk themselves.  MADD stated, that “opponents of sobriety checkpoints tend to be those who drink and drive frequently and are concerned about being caught.”

However, many people who disagree with roadblocks are people of good will who have valid reasons for their concerns.

The biggest problem with sobriety checkpoints is the legal concept of “reasonable suspicion.” Just because an individual is driving down the highway does not mean that the driver is committing some crime and should not be subject to such suspicions. If a search and seizure is conducted at a roadblock, it is highly contestable in court because proper reasonable suspicion protocol was not followed.  Police officers should not hold a blank check to the right of search and seizure, and a roadblock detainment has been ruled as a “seizure” by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Furthermore, before a sobriety checkpoint can be considered ‘legal’, it must be explicitly authorized by statutory law and only operate for 2 hours at a time.

Opponents of roadblocks also cite that they are unproductive and don‘t help us make the best decisions about how to reduce impaired and drunk driving.

So why is it that 11 states currently prohibit sobriety checkpoints within their boundaries?  It is high time that Georgia joins this group of states that give their citizens more protections against unreasonable search and police sobriety roadblocks are prohibited.

Anyone charged with DUI as a result of a sobriety checkpoint should consider retaining an effective and experienced criminal defense attorney who can investigate the arrest and put together a strong defense that minimizes or eliminates the damage of a DUI conviction. Call the The Law Offices of Douglas B. Chanco Today!   1-855-9-ATL-DUI

 Sobriety Checkpoints

Eleven states currently prohibit suspicion-less checkpoints within their boundaries. These states appear in green to the right & include:

  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs

Many people take doctor prescribed medications every day. And they drive. What is disturbing is that more and more drivers are charged every day for driving under the influence of drugs. But these are not illicit street drugs, just doctor prescribed medication . Even if you claim that you are taking lawfully prescribed medication, anContinue Reading

Breath Testing Machines are Inaccurate

Breath Testing Machines are Inaccurate

I really would like to know why Georgia persists in using breathalyzers to determine Blood Alcohol Content, while courts in other states have desisted or are questioning the accuracy of these devices and whether results obtained should be admissible. Georgia still uses the Intoxilyzer 5000 even though it is well known to be one ofContinue Reading

Police Will be Handing Out DUIs This Holiday Season

During the holidays, police will be on high alert for DUI through checkpoints and patrols.  If you are charged with DUI in Georgia, expect more this to affect you this coming year and for many years to come. The penalties for a DUI in Georgia for a first offense are: 1 year license suspension 10Continue Reading

Stand on One Leg or Get Arrested

If a police officer suspects you of drunk driving, they will likely ask you to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.  The problem is that these are not tasks that we do on a daily or even yearly basis.  For example, they will ask you to stand on one leg for 30 seconds without swaying. Continue Reading

Beware of DUI Checkpoints in Atlanta this Weekend

If you are going out this weekend beware of DUI checkpoints. It is common for police to setup checkpoints on major roadways in and around Atlanta during holidays.  With many Halloween parties planned for the weekend, the police will be out in full force. Before you go out, make sure to read: Georgia Drivers, KnowContinue Reading

Georgia to Add New Breath Testing Device

Beginning this October, the State of Georgia will begin transitioning from its current statewide breath testing machine, the Intoxilyzer 5000, to the manufacturer’s new model, the Intoxilyzer 9000. The manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer 9000 CMI, Inc and the Department of Public Safety are touting the new device as more advanced and more accurate.  However, theContinue Reading

Five Common Misconceptions made by First Time DUI Offenders

For many of the people I meet, a DUI is their first run-in with the law.  Most of the people accused are not hardened criminals or gang bangers.  A lot of them are common folk who made a bad decision. Because of their lack of experience in dealing with criminal proceedings, people often make theContinue Reading

Labor Day DUI Checkpoints in Georgia

Labor Day Weekend is one of the most traveled weekends of the year.  In response, police will be setting up DUI checkpoints in Atlanta and all over Georgia. As in the past, I will be listing the location of any DUI checkpoints I find so that the citizens of Georgia can make informed and responsibleContinue Reading

Field Sobriety Tests

In DUI cases, there is too much emphasis placed on the results of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.  The misconception is that these tests are 100% accurate indicators of sobriety.  They are not. For example, there are many reasons why someone can stumble while standing on one leg.  Weight and health issues can come intoContinue Reading