DUI checkpoints are a popular tool police use to keep the roads safe, particularly during the holidays. When you go through the checkpoint, the police will ask for your driver’s license and proof of insurance, but they are really checking to see if you have been drinking. Stay calm as you go through the checkpoint and don’t be afraid to rely on your constitutional right to remain silent.
Don’t Avoid the Checkpoint
If you see a checkpoint up ahead, don’t slam on the breaks and throw a U-turn. In fact, the police can use any erratic movements as proof to investigate potential drunk driving further. According to the court in Jones v. State, “abnormal or unusual actions taken to avoid a roadblock may give an officer a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity” to justify an investigatory stop.
Georgia police typically use orange cones and patrol cars with their lights flashing to signal that a checkpoint is up ahead. If you can avoid the checkpoint while driving normally, then you can certainly do so. However, don’t do anything unusual. Instead, take a deep breath and slow down as you approach the checkpoint.
Have Your Insurance and License Ready
When you reach the checkpoint, you’ll stop your vehicle and roll down the window to hand the officer your proof of insurance and driver’s license. Make sure to have your documents ready so you aren’t fumbling for them in front of the officer, which an officer might interpret is a sign of being intoxicated. Expect the officer to crouch down at eye level when they take your documents because they want to see you and possibly smell your breath.
After you hand over your documents, the officer might ask, “What have you been doing?” or “Have you been drinking?” Remember that you aren’t legally required to answer the police officer’s questions. The purpose of asking you questions is to get you talking so that the officer can observe you and check for signs of intoxication, such as the following:
- Alcohol on your breath
- Slurred speech
- Bloodshot eyes
- Incoherent or inconsistent answers
Instead of playing along with the police, tell them, “I don’t want to answer any questions” or “I have nothing to say.” You might feel awkward, but it’s better than saying, “I don’t know how much I’ve been drinking” or “I only had one drink an hour ago.”
Whatever you do, don’t be rude or get into an argument with a police officer. You’ll only make things worse for yourself, and an officer might use your verbal aggression as an excuse to perform a search of your car.
Call a Georgia DUI Attorney Today
If all goes well, the police should hand over your documents and let you pass through the checkpoint. But if you’re pulled over, then you’ll need qualified DUI attorney to analyze the circumstances and come up with your best defense. Kyle Epps, the founder of The Epps Law Group, is a former police officer and prosecutor who understands the laws surrounding Georgia DUI checkpoints and can enforce your rights. Reach out to us today by calling (678) 257-4507 or by completing our online contact form.