Roadside Checkpoints in Gwinnett County
Speak with a trusted DUI lawyer in Georgia.
The Gwinnett County Juvenile Court has jurisdiction over situations involving offenders under the age of 18 in Gwinnett County, GA. If your family is facing issues like a child’s delinquency or criminal activity, or if you are otherwise dealing with issues involving a dependent minor in Gwinnett County, Philip Kim Law can help.
Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on March 31, 2023.
Gwinnett County Roadside Checkpoints – the Inside Story
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in Gwinnett County and throughout the State of Georgia. As a result, law enforcement agencies have implemented roadside sobriety checkpoints in various areas, including Gwinnett County, to combat drunk driving.
DUI checkpoints in Georgia are an enforcement strategy utilized by police to deter drunk driving and identify impaired drivers. Also known as sobriety checkpoints, these temporary roadblocks are typically set up in high-traffic areas, such as busy intersections or near bars and restaurants.
Law enforcement officers randomly stop vehicles at these checkpoints and investigate briefly to determine if the driver is impaired. If an officer suspects a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will administer a field sobriety test and possibly a breathalyzer test.
DUI checkpoints have been used throughout the United States for many years, and their effectiveness in reducing drunk driving incidents has been a point of debate. Supporters argue that checkpoints serve as a deterrent and have saved countless lives. On the other hand, critics say they violate drivers’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
Gwinnett Roadside Sobriety Checkpoints
Gwinnett County is no stranger to DUI checkpoints. Law enforcement agencies in the county regularly set up roadside sobriety checkpoints to identify and arrest impaired drivers.
The Gwinnett County Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol are the two primary agencies responsible for conducting roadside sobriety checkpoints in Gwinnett County. These checkpoints are typically held during holidays or special events with an increased likelihood of drunk driving, such as New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, and Memorial Day.
Are Roadside Checkpoints Legal in Gwinnett County?
DUI checkpoints are legal in most cases in Georgia. However, there are specific guidelines that law enforcement agencies must follow when conducting checkpoints to ensure that they are conducted lawfully.
These guidelines were established in the 1990 United States Supreme Court ruling in Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz.
- A supervisor must approve DUI checkpoints.
- Road users must be notified well in advance of a roadblock.
- A neutral formula must be used to stop the cars, for instance, stopping every 2nd vehicle and not based on the officers’ personal biases.
- All DUI checkpoints must be established at a reasonable time and location.
- The checkpoints must be conducted in a way that poses the most minor intrusion on motorists.
If any of these conditions are unmet, your attorney can successfully raise those defenses as defenses to DUI charges drawn against you at a sobriety checkpoint.
Additionally, your attorney may challenge the results of any field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests administered at the checkpoint. These tests are only sometimes accurate and may be influenced by various factors, such as medical conditions or equipment malfunctions.
Hence the need for hiring a DUI defense attorney cannot be overstated.
What to Do if You Are Arrested for a DUI in Gwinnett County
If you are arrested for a DUI in Gwinnett County, there are several steps you should take to protect your legal rights.
- Remain calm and cooperate with the arresting police officer. Do not resist or argue with the officer, which can result in additional charges.
- Exercise your right to remain silent. You have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Do not answer any questions without first speaking to an attorney.
- Contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can review the details of your case and determine the best defense strategy. A DUI lawyer can also represent you in court and negotiate with prosecutors to reduce or dismiss charges.
What Are Your Rights if Stopped at a DUI Checkpoint?
Fundamental rights you should be aware of include:
- The right to remain silent: You can provide your license, registration, and proof of insurance if requested.
- The right to refuse field sobriety tests.
- The right to refuse a breath test: You can refuse the test, but there may be consequences, such as losing your driver’s license.
- The right to an attorney.
- The right to know the reason for the stop.
- The right to be treated with respect.
Can you Refuse a DUI Checkpoint in Georgia?
In Georgia, drivers cannot refuse to comply with a DUI checkpoint. If a driver admits to avoiding DUI checkpoints or refuses to comply with a DUI checkpoint, they may be subject to arrest and other penalties. However, drivers have the right to remain silent and do not have to answer any questions that may incriminate themselves.
Where Are the DUI Checkpoints in Gwinnett County?
The location of DUI checkpoints in Gwinnett County changes all the time. This police strategy maintains the element of surprise, prevents drunk drivers from avoiding the area, and ensures that the checkpoint effectively identifies impaired drivers.
There are some locations that, by their nature, are far less likely to have DUI checkpoints. These include:
- On interstate highways as high-speed driving renders this an unsafe location for a checkpoint.
- Residential neighborhoods are unlikely to have DUI checkpoints as the police do not expect to find impaired drivers far away from areas that have densely populated bars, restaurants, and watering holes which you find in business districts. The likelihood of success needs to be higher in residential areas to justify the checkpoint effort and operation.
- Morning rush hour is also doubtful to produce DUI checkpoints. The chances of catching offenders are meager.
The most likely places to encounter DUI checkpoints are at night on feeder roads to areas with many entertainment venues. Public holidays and days of celebration are more likely to see DUI checkpoints.
Is There an App That Tells you Where Checkpoints Are?
Georgia DUI checkpoints are not all listed on any app. However, some community-based apps provide real-time information about DUI checkpoints.
Waze used to provide users with real-time information about DUI roadblocks. After police threatened legal action in 2019, Google, the owner of Waze, announced the app would no longer provide DUI checkpoint information to its users to comply with local laws.
Due to this, the app does not currently inform users of DUI checkpoints. Users can, however, directly report police presence through the app and map it for other motorists to see. This report indicates police presence but does not explicitly mention a roadside checkpoint. Users can add comments next to the police marker, so a user might comment that it is a DUI checkpoint.
Arrested for DUI in GA – We Can Help
Roadside sobriety checkpoints are a legal enforcement strategy utilized by law enforcement agencies in Gwinnett County and throughout Georgia to deter drunk driving and identify impaired drivers. If you face a DUI charge, remaining calm and exercising your right to remain silent is important. It is a good idea to contact us as soon as possible so we can provide you with legal representation and assist you in your criminal defense by vigorously defending your Georgia DUI case.
In Georgia, you have 30 days to file a driver’s license suspension appeal or apply for an ignition interlock device, so time is of the essence.
Our skilled DUI attorneys are familiar with the nuances of the local DUI laws and can represent you whether you are an in-state or out-of-state driver. Our law offices are in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Contact us for a free consultation today.