Can I Legally Avoid a DUI Checkpoint in Atlanta?
If you drive regularly and haven’t encountered a DUI checkpoint, count yourself among the lucky. Georgia State Patrol and local police departments will be out in full force this Halloween and on other holidays, meaning your chances of being stopped are much higher. Most drivers have encountered at least one of these checkpoints in their lives, and many aren’t sure what they are legally allowed to do.
If you want to avoid contact with the officers running one of these checkpoints, you may be wondering if you can simply turn around before you hit the line. While you technically can turn around, is it a good idea to?
- In 2016, 368 (24%) of all fatal crashes in Georgia involved a drunk driver.
- Across the US, 10,497 (28%) of all fatal crashes in 2016 involved a drunk driver.
- The day after Halloween is the deadliest on Georgia roads.
You Are Not Legally Obligated to Proceed. However…
If you can avoid the DUI checkpoint without breaking a traffic law, you are legally permitted to do so. For instance, if you would have to perform a U-turn where one isn’t permissible, you can’t turn around. If, on the other hand, all you have to do is turn a corner, you most certainly can avoid the checkpoint.
DUI checkpoints have been found in court to be counted under the 4th Amendment as reasonable search and seizure. That said, it only counts if the driver passes through the checkpoint and is selected for a stop. If you don’t get to the officers, they can’t stop you and they can’t search your vehicle or your person.
Again, you don’t have to drive through a checkpoint if you can avoid it legally. If, though, you will be breaking the law to avoid the checkpoint, you must pass through. Often, these checkpoints are set up in a location where legally avoiding them is all but impossible.
Drawing Attention to Yourself
Now that we have helped you determine when you can legally avoid a checkpoint, let’s briefly discuss the act of drawing attention to yourself. The mere act of avoiding a traffic stop shouldn’t cause an officer to jump into their vehicle and stop you, but it could draw attention to you that you may not want.
If you are observed maneuvering to avoid the roadblock, even if you do so legally, there’s a good chance you’ll be pulled over and arrested. This is especially true if the officer reasonably believed you are being evasive and doing so for purposes of avoiding the checkpoint. However, an experienced DUI attorney could get that case thrown out.
What About Motorcycles and Scooters?
The truth is, it doesn’t matter what type of vehicle you are driving. If it has a motor and you are operating it, you have to stay sober. It’s important to make a special mention of scooters as more are popping up in neighborhoods across the country. The rental scooters are a quick and cheap way to get from here to there. You may be tempted to get on one instead of getting behind the wheel of your car when you walk out of the bar. Not so fast.
The question is whether or not you can earn a driving under the influence charge on a motorized scooter. In Georgia, yes. Even if you don’t catch a DUI, you can still be charged with some type of misdemeanor. What you are charged with depends on the specific circumstances of the stop. For example, if you were operating the scooter on a sidewalk, you may be charged with an infraction. If you were darting in and out of traffic, it may be another infraction.
It’s also important to note that you can be charged with a DUI on a non-motorized vehicle, such as a pedal bicycle. However, the consequences will generally be less severe; you’ll likely be charged with a general misdemeanor.
Your best chance of avoiding an arrest at a DUI checkpoint is to not drink and drive in the first place. That, of course, will depend on the decisions you make. If you have been drinking and run into a checkpoint, you could very well find yourself under arrest for driving under the influence. If this happens, you need a strong defense so you have a chance of avoiding stiff punishment.
Alternate Ways Home
Finding another way home if you have had even a single drink is always the safer option. If you have been tying one on with the people from your office or had a night on the town with your group of friends, there are ways you can get home without hurting anyone and without a hefty fine.
- Ride Share: Uber and Lyft are popular ride-sharing services that allow you to order a ride with the tap of a finger.
- Public Transportation: Depending on where you are and where you’re going, you can take MARTA trains and buses if you are at least somewhat sober. Keep in mind that if you cause a problem, you can be kicked off.
- Cab: You can always call a taxi if you need a safe way to get home. If you aren’t sure that you have the cash, call ahead of going out to find out how much the fare will be and stash the amount in your back pocket.
- Designated Driver: Consider trading off the duty of being the designated driver with others in your group if you frequently go out. No one wants to be the sober one all the time, so switching things up can make it more fair.
Our Atlanta DUI Defense Lawyers are Here for You
If you do find yourself arrested for DUI in Atlanta, you are facing serious consequences. You are not only facing steep fines, but you may be facing jail time as well. You need a powerful attorney on your side. Call our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal options.
We have been defending people like you in court for years and that experience is what allows us to assist others successfully. Call now for a case evaluation or browse our website for more information about our firm.