Law enforcement offices throughout the state of Georgia have the legal authority to use and execute sobriety checkpoints. Some communities across the state have announced that they will increase police presence on roadways and implement checkpoints, since drunk driving can be a problem during the week of July 4th. Georgia bases the permissibility of checkpoints on state and federal laws, as well as case precedent.
One controlling case that dictates how and when law enforcement checkpoints may be used is Brown v. Texas, a United States Supreme Court case from 1979. In Brown, the high court determined that checkpoints may be legal and not in violation of the Fourth Amendment if they meet three criteria. First, a checkpoint must address a grave public concern. Second, it must advance the interest that the concern addresses.
Third, a checkpoint must not infringe upon the liberties of individuals and must avoid the arbitrary use of power by officials. When these criteria are met, checkpoints for drunk driving may be considered permissible. However, although sobriety checkpoints may be allowed when these and other conditions are met, that is not to say that all checkpoints are properly executed and in compliance with the law.
During the Fourth of July holiday, drivers who pass through sobriety checkpoints could end up finding themselves facing DUI charges. With the help of committed defense attorneys, these individuals may be able to overcome their legal troubles by establishing a defense that challenges the validity of the checkpoints that allegedly caught them.