Roadblocks in Georgia, unlike traffic stops, do not need probable cause, or even a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing by the motorist in order to be admissible in court. This is an obvious advantage to law enforcement, as officers do not have to worry about a judge, defense attorney, or jury scrutinizing why the officer pulled someone over in the first place. Simply having a valid roadblock, blocking all lanes of traffic, or all possible routes of entrance or exit is enough, and officers are allowed to stop and question you, and counties like Hall, Gwinnett, Fulton, Bartow, Forsyth and Fulton make frequent use of these opportunities.
While roadblock stops do not require any suspicion of wrong doing on your part, they do have to meet a heightened level of scrutiny in the courtroom because of our federal and state constitutional protections. Under Georgia law, roadblocks are analyzed through a five-part test in order to determine their constitutionality. Often times, prosecutors and law enforcement will have more trouble meeting this heightened standard, making it all the more important to have a skilled DUI defense attorney on your side if you were arrested at a roadblock in Georgia.
When analyzing a roadblock case, there care certain checks I always look for to see if the state will be able to meet their burden. A motion to suppress that challenges the constitutionality of the roadblock is filed in 100% of my DUI roadblock or ‘safety check’ cases. At this suppression hearing, the prosecutor will be forced to present sufficient evidence that the roadblock meets your constitutional protections. When challenged, this can be more difficult for the state to do, requiring more witnesses and documentary evidence from the roadblock’s records. If your roadblock is found to be unconstitutional, the usual outcome is for all evidence of your DUI to be suppressed- a very good outcome for your defense.
If you have been stopped at a roadblock and charged with DUI, possession, or any traffic or other infraction stemming from the roadblock, call or write me today. There is important documents that need to be gathered in defending a roadblock case, and time is of the essence.