Question: I got stopped at a roadblock in Georgia and I was ultimately charged with drunk driving. Can the cops do that?
Answer: Yes, “roadblocks,” “checkpoints” or “sobriety checkpoints” are legal in Georgia and they were found by the United States Supreme court to be constitutional. In fact, many Georgia police departments and sheriff’s offices use them, particularly in Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Forsyth, Bartow, Pickens or Cherokee counties.
The U.S. Supreme Court found that checkpoints are legal, as long as certain procedures are followed. They do not violate the Fourth Amendment, which forbids illegal searches and seizures. Some Supreme Court Justices, however, argued that such roadblocks are not legal because they infringe on the requirement for “individualized suspicion.” Some states, including Texas, Michigan & Iowa, have found that sobriety roadblocks violate their state constitutions or have outlawed them. But in Georgia, as with all of the states in the Southeast, such roadblocks are legal and are widely utilized.
At checkpoints, officers often talk of finding open containers of alcohol (wine, vodka, gin, tequila and rum bottles; cans or bottles of beer or malt liquor or ale and even moonshine), bags of pot (sometimes with marijuana cigarettes; sometimes the pot is just loose) and bottles of pills (Ambien, antidepressants, Valium and other prescription drugs).
Because we are Georgia attorneys, please call us directly at 678-215-4106 to discuss the specifics of your situation and how we can help you.