DUI Roadblocks and Checkpoints Raise Legal Issues in Columbus Georgia

DUI roadblocks in Columbus Georgia are escalating. DUI task forces, including the famous Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks, continue to use DUI roadblocks and checkpoints to arrest Columbus drivers for DUI, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But DUI roadblocks are subject to some stringent requirements to be legal. First, the State must show that the law enforcement agency’s checkpoint (roadblock) program had an appropriate primary purpose other than ordinary or general crime control. This purpose must be examined at the agency, or programmatic level, meaning we look for an overall management decision, not the specific decision to implement the specific DUI roadblock in question. Also, the Georgia Supreme Court established some basic requirements which must be met by law enforcement for a valid roadblock, or checkpoint:

  • [1] the decision to implement the roadblock was made by supervisory personnel rather than the officers in the field;
  • [2] all vehicles must be stopped as opposed to random vehicle stops;
  • [3] the delay to motorists is minimal;
  • [4] the roadblock operation is well identified as a police checkpoint;
  • [5] the screening officer’s training and experience are sufficient to qualify him to make an initial determination as to which motorists should be given field tests for intoxication.

In addition, when stopped at a roadblock there is normally not any other reckless or erratic driving associated with the stop and arrest. Rather, it is a citizen obeying the law and stopping for the roadblock. This means the arresting officer must exercise extreme diligence when administering roadside field sobriety tests in order to support his or her probable cause for making the arrest for DUI at a roadblock or checkpoint. Of course, roadblocks and checkpoints do not excuse the arresting officer from properly administering roadside field sobriety tests, proper reading and advisement of the implied consent law, and proper handling of the driver’s decision for the second test of blood, breath or urine, if requested. Call Ted Morgan Law if you or a family member has been arrested for DUI in Columbus Georgia.

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