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Are sobriety checkpoints legal in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2022 | DUI |

There are many reasons these days to celebrate and enjoy a drink or two with your friends, family and co-workers. Police, however, are diligent and will be looking out for drunk drivers. One tactic they use to apprehend drunk drivers is sobriety checkpoints. You may wonder, what makes sobriety checkpoints legal in Georgia?

The legality of sobriety checkpoints

In general, the police need to have a reasonable belief that a crime is being committed to stop a vehicle on the road. This is part of your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

Sobriety checkpoints, however, stop every vehicle passing the checkpoint to check for signs of intoxication. Does this meet the reasonable belief requirement?

Sobriety checkpoints are permissible in Georgia as long as they are reasonable. Police must have a legitimate primary purpose to stop all vehicles going through a checkpoint. This purpose is generally a public-safety purpose for catching drunk drivers during times when they are likely to be on the road, endangering others.

Sobriety checkpoints in Georgia

Sobriety checkpoints in Georgia must cover a specific time and location. Police must wear reflective vests so they can be seen by motorists. The checkpoint must be clearly identified. Ultimately, while checkpoints do not have to be advertised in Georgia, they must be made obvious to drivers.

What can you do if arrested at a sobriety checkpoint?

Being arrested at a sobriety checkpoint in Georgia can seem unfair and feel like a violation of your rights. You can, however, argue that the checkpoint did not meet Georgia’s requirements for sobriety checkpoints. Doing so can help you avoid a drunk driving conviction that could impact your entire life for years to come.