In Georgia, it is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle if you have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08%. To spot potential drunk drivers, officers watch for both signs of impaired driving and traffic violations.
Sometimes, though, officers set up sobriety checkpoints to check drivers for intoxication without having suspicion of it. Sobriety checkpoints are legal in the Peach State, provided they meet certain requirements.
Officers may not erect sobriety checkpoints anywhere they want at any time. For a checkpoint to pass legal muster, a supervisor must approve its time and location in advance. This supervisor also must have the authority to approve sobriety checkpoints, of course.
Officers may not stop every driver on the road without having a precise purpose. When conducting a sobriety checkpoint, this purpose is typically to determine if motorists may have BACs above the legal limit.
When it comes to driving, surprises often turn into catastrophes. Therefore, officers must provide adequate signage to alert drivers to upcoming checkpoints. They also must offer a safe place for motorists to stop.
To some degree, all sobriety checkpoints are inconvenient for drivers. Still, for a checkpoint to be legal in Georgia, it must minimally inconvenience drivers. Officers generally may detain motorists only as long as they need to determine whether they may be driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you are facing DUI charges following an arrest at a sobriety checkpoint, considering whether the checkpoint was a legal one is likely to be in your interest. Ultimately, if officers committed some legal error, you may have a valid defense.