DUI checkpoints can be established by law enforcement with minimal notice. There’s no 100% accurate “checkpoint finder” that will provide you with all the checkpoints in the area. While Waze offers the most accurate DUI checkpoint finder available, even this technology may fall short if you drive late at night, when fewer drivers are on the road, to alert other motorists about what is going on.
If you come across a DUI checkpoint, you may want to know what you can do to refuse it. In Georgia, it’s important to make sure you know the laws and your rights and responsibilities.
Understanding How DUI Checkpoints Work in Georgia
When setting up a DUI checkpoint, the police have a “chase” car that will pursue a vehicle that turns around or turns off to avoid going through it. Usually, if you do this, the chase car will follow you, pull you over, and then investigate the situation. In most cases, it is best to pursue through the checkpoint when you approach it to avoid additional suspicion.
While this is true, refusal laws outline that you can make any legal maneuver to avoid a checkpoint. This is a right provided by the Fourth Amendment. Police can’t pull over any moving vehicle just because they have a “hunch” that the person leaving would not remain in line at the checkpoint because they are intoxicated. The police must have a reason to pull you over besides avoiding the checkpoint if you made a legal maneuver to avoid it.
Do You Have the Right to Refuse to Go Through a DUI Checkpoint in Georgia?
Yes, you can refuse to go through a DUI checkpoint in Georgia. While this is legal, you need to make sure that you don’t make an illegal or abrupt maneuver on the road that may give suspicion to the officer to utilize the chase car to pull you over and potentially arrest you. Be sure to use your turn signals and move deliberately and slowly if you are going to change your direction to move through a DUI checkpoint.
It is also important to have an unbiased, concise, and clear witness regarding what will happen. The best way to have this is to utilize the camera on your cell phone.
Before you begin moving, try to set up your phone’s camera so that it captures your precise movements. You can also use it to record any conversations between you and the police, just in case you are accused of attempting to evade a roadblock
While it’s rare in Georgia today, some police departments have not intentionally put video cameras in their patrol cars or on officers’ bodies or uniforms. This is usually done to ensure that there is no record of someone refusing a DUI checkpoint.
Are You Required to Answer Questions When at a Georgia DUI Checkpoint?
Your best option is to remain silent. While you must give the police your name and address, nothing more is required. Remaining silent and not “acting” in a way that you incriminate yourself is a guaranteed right by the Georgia Constitution, Paragraph XVI. It’s important to note that no other state in the U.S. provides a more thorough constitutional provision to protect a citizen’s rights and allows you to SAY NOTHING and DO NOTHING.
Steps to Refuse a DUI Checkpoint without Incriminating Yourself
If the chase car follows you and pulls you over, only provide the officer with your name and address. You should never admit that you were attempting to evade the checkpoint. Many of these checkpoints look like an accident scene, and people often seek an alternate route to get to their destination to avoid being delayed.
You should only exit your vehicle if the police order you to. Try to have your phone camera on and recording to capture your conversation with the officer and their tone of voice. Doing this will ensure your criminal defense attorney has evidence that will be beneficial during your trial.
You should never attempt a field sobriety test or let the officer “check your eyes.” You need to refuse to blow into a portable breathalyzer, too.
Protecting Your Rights When Arrested for DUI in Georgia
If you are arrested for DUI in Georgia, you must reach out to a criminal defense attorney immediately. Our legal team at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines is ready to help you with your case and ensure you have the quality, experienced legal representation you deserve.