Driving in Athens can be challenging, and sometimes it may seem like the odds are against you. But regarding DUI checkpoints, you need to know your rights and how to stay safe.
Every driver in Athens needs to understand that law enforcement officers have the power to conduct DUI checkpoint operations. But what exactly is a DUI checkpoint, and what should you do if you encounter one?
In this article, we’ll look at these checkpoints, how they work, and what measures you can take to protect yourself if you’re ever stopped. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, call our Athens DUI defense lawyers today!
What Is a DUI Checkpoint?
Have you ever seen a DUI checkpoint in Athens? Have you ever wondered how it works and what your rights are?
A DUI checkpoint, sometimes called a sobriety checkpoint, is a roadblock that law enforcement set up to detect impaired drivers operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police screen drivers at a designated location to identify those drinking or using drugs.
The police will stop cars at the checkpoint and check for signs of impairment, such as slurred speech or the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath.
Athens DUI checkpoints are set up in areas with higher rates of drunk-driving activity. They typically occur late at night or during special occasions when people are more likely to celebrate. Police may also conduct random spot checks on highways and country roads in Athens, where impaired driving is commonly seen.
Knowing your rights when stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Athens or anywhere else in Georgia is important. Police officers must follow certain procedures during these stops, and if they fail, they may not have grounds for detaining you further without cause.
Understanding your rights ahead of time is key to protecting yourself if you ever find yourself stopped at one of these checkpoints.
What Happens at a DUI Checkpoint in Athens?
DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI stands for Driving While Impaired. Drivers can face stiff penalties for DUI in Georgia.
At a DUI or DWI checkpoint, law enforcement officials will be looking for evidence of drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Officers may conduct field sobriety tests to determine if there are signs of impairment from drugs or alcohol. At the same time, officers may also check for valid license plates and registrations to ensure that all vehicles in the area follow local laws.
In Athens, Georgia, DUI and DWI checkpoints are conducted to maintain public road safety. If you’re stopped at either type of checkpoint, it’s important to remember your rights:
- You can politely ask why you were pulled over.
- You can refuse to answer any questions not related to your license or registration.
- You do not have to answer questions about where you are coming from or going.
- You do not have to submit to any field sobriety tests.
What Do Police Factor In When Conducting a DUI Check?
So, when conducting DUI checks in Athens, what exactly do the police look for? They are checking for three things: impairment due to alcohol, impairment due to drugs, and the presence of any other illegal substances.
The police will typically be looking for:
- Obvious signs of intoxication
- Erratic driving behaviors
- Open containers of alcohol or drugs in the vehicle
- Presence of drugs or drug paraphernalia
In addition to these more obvious indicators, police also tend to rely on various factors—location, time of day, and your interactions with officers—to determine whether or not a driver is impaired.
If you’re stopped at a DUI checkpoint, remain calm and cooperative. Try to avoid making sudden movements or changes in your behavior, as this can be interpreted by law enforcement as suspicious behavior. Also, remember that you have the right to remain silent and don’t provide any information beyond confirming your name and address.
What Happens After a DUI Checkpoint Stop?
If you’re stopped at a DUI checkpoint in Athens, you might be wondering what will happen next. The police officers at the checkpoint are looking for signs of driving under the influence (DUI). If they see any, they’ll ask you to pull off to the side so that they can do a more thorough investigation.
The officers will likely look for signs of intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and an odor of alcohol or drugs on your breath. They may also administer a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test. If they determine that you are intoxicated, an officer will place you under arrest and take you into custody.
The police may also remove your car from the scene if they suspect it was involved in a DUI-related offense. It is important to remember that even if you are not arrested for DUI, your car may still be impounded.
It is important to note that your rights remain protected regardless of what happens at the checkpoint. You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions. You do not have to agree to search requests from officers unless they have probable cause or a warrant—and even then, only if it’s an emergency and there isn’t time to obtain one.
What Are Your Rights When Encountering a DUI Checkpoint in Athens?
When police stop you at a DUI checkpoint in Athens, you may be wondering what your rights are—and it’s important to understand them.
You Have the Right to Refuse Search
It’s your right to refuse a search of your vehicle at a DUI checkpoint. However, it’s important to remember that if the officer has reasonable suspicion, they can search your vehicle without your consent. Reasonable suspicion can include smelling alcohol or marijuana in the car or noticing open containers.
You Don’t Have to Answer Questions about Alcohol Consumption
You do not need to answer questions about whether you have consumed drugs or alcohol. Most of the time, officers will ask this question to determine if you have been drinking or using drugs, and when given this question, it is best practice to state that you choose not to answer this question and ask for a lawyer.
If Asked About Your Immigration Status: Remain Silent
Officers cannot pull you over based on racial profiling or ask you about your immigration status when stopped at a drunk driving checkpoint. In these cases, it is also best practice not to answer any questions related to your citizenship status and remain silent unless instructed otherwise by legal counsel.
If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, call our Athens DUI lawyers today!