Don't Argue the Law with the Cop, Roadblocks can be Legal.
Roadblocks, unlike traffic stops, do not need probable cause, or even a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing by the motorist in order to be legit. 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 really 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. Remember this when stopped. Do not argue with the officer, or question his reasoning for asking you for your information or holding you to speak with you. Simply be polite, and comply with his reasonable requests for license and registration information.
Mind Your P's & Q's, You're on Camera.
In today's modern age, most every law enforcement agency has audio and video capability and they put it to use in DUI and roadblock cases. As I tell my clients, the video, like any chemical test (blood test, breath test), can be one of the strongest pieces of evidence for or against you in a roadblock case. I've seen cases where the video of the incident literally made the case completely unwinnable. Remember, at the end of the road, a jury of six or twelve of your peers maybe deciding your fate, and they will see whatever video exists. If your speech, mannerisms, and actions all have obvious signs of alcohol impairment, a smart prosecutor is going to throw it to the jury at every chance they get. Once again, be polite but brief.
Watch Your Mouth, Admissions Hurt.
Do not volunteer too much information. Do not take field sobriety tests, as they are engineered for failure. If the officer asks about alcohol consumption (which they will), either be honest and say that you have not consumed alcohol if that is the case, or simply keep your mouth shut. Any admission will surely lead to further investigation, which almost always turns into a DUI arrest. Additionally, depending on where your case may go to trial, you may be dealing with an extremely conservative jury pool that admonishes the use of any alcohol at all. While four drinks over the course of a night might be just fine for you, others may frown upon it. You do not have to admit anything when an officer is prying.
Don't Fall Victim to that 70's Junk Science- Say No to Field Testing.
Standard field sobriety testing has been around since the late 70s, and has not been updated since. For the most part, these tests have remained unchanged, and are still designed to produce failure. Whether an officer wants you to do an 'eye test', walk a line, or stand on a leg, you have the absolute right to refuse taking these tests. Georgia law protects its citizens from being compelled to give law enforcement this type of evidence. Do not take these tests- even if sober, you have a good chance of 'failing' one or more of these tests and you better believe even a half-trained officer is going to use these tests against you every step of the way. If given the standard "if you haven't been drinking, then why not take these tests?" line, simply let the officer know that you have heard they are bad news and an attorney told you not to submit to anything.
Lawyer Up, Its Going to be a Long Battle.
If all else fails and you are arrested for DUI at a roadblock, remember, roadblocks come under a heightened level of scrutiny from judges in Georgia. While a traffic stop for a busted taillight just needs testimony from the officer of the taillight being out, roadblocks in Georgia must satisfy a multi part test that examines their constitutionality. I have attacked numerous roadblocks and found that if challenged, prosecutors and law enforcement frequently have a tough time validating these roadblocks for a judge. Roadblocks are open to attack by skilled DUI defense attorneys, and should always be challenged. In a recent case I argued before a judge, a DUI roadblock arrest was thrown out despite the defendant having a breath alcohol level at twice the legal limit. Again, roadblocks are open to attack- call me and we will go over your roadblock arrest.
Additional resources provided by the author
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