DUI Roadblocks and Arrests

Many police departments stop motorists at roadblocks. Many people are arrested after being stopped at roadblocks. However, in order to be valid, the roadblocks must meet numerous criteria. This is so that the roadblock does not violate the constitutions of the United States and of Georgia.

If the roadblocks do not meet the specific requirements, the evidence obtained as the result of the stop may be able to be thrown out. If this happens, then the case may not be able to proceed and may be dismissed.

The Legality of a Roadblock or Checkpoint

Many DUI arrests occur at a roadside checkpoint. Police refer to the checkpoint as a DUI roadblock. Law enforcement officials cannot set up a roadblock at any time or location. Setting up and enforcing a roadblock is an exception to the United States Constitution Fourth Amendment. Because the roadblock is an exception, this means that drivers cannot be stopped unless there is sufficient cause. If there is no just cause for the checkpoint or roadblock, it is easy to challenge the legality of the checkpoint. It is important to be able to challenge the legality of an arrest for DUI. Attorney Diana Whipkey Young is an experienced criminal law attorney who knows how to challenge the legality of an arrest at a roadside checkpoint.

Probable cause is required to arrest an individual. If there is no probable cause, there is no legal justification for the arrest. To establish probable cause, there must be adequate evidence to show that a crime occurred. The evidence supports the probable cause. Police officers are trained to observe certain behaviors and characteristic to show just cause for a DUI arrest. Some of the items a police officer looks for are:

  • The smell of alcohol on the individual.
  • The DUI suspect admits to drinking.
  • Glassy, bloodshot or watery looking eyes.
  • A red face or flushed face.
  • Difficulty opening their wallet to get their license.
  • Slow to respond to questions.
  • Difficulty following directions, general confusion.
  • Trembling, shaking and difficulty walking.

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration created the tests used to determine the detained individuals sobriety. The tests are used to establish probable cause for a DUI arrest.

What Could Make A Roadblock Invalid?

The decision to implement a roadblock must be made by supervisory personnel rather than the officers in the field. All vehicles must be stopped as opposed to random vehicle stops. The delay to motorists must be minimal. The roadblock must be well identified as a police checkpoint. The screening officer’s training and experience must be sufficient to qualify him or her to make an initial determination as to which motorists should be given field tests for intoxication. The roadblock program must have a primary purpose other than the general interest in crime control, which purpose was examined at the programmatic level.

Evidence From An Unconstitutional Roadblock May Be Thrown Out

If any of these requirements are lacking, the roadblock would not be constitutional. In that case, the charges may be able to be dismissed. However, as the legal arguments regarding the validity of a roadblock are complicated, one charged with a crime after being stopped at a roadblock should contact an experienced Marietta DUI attorney, such as Diana Whipkey Young.