Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Georgia?

If you are on your way home from a night out with friends and approach a line of cars behind a police car’s flashing lights, it is probably a DUI checkpoint where police officers stop drivers to check for signs of intoxication. This can be an unnerving experience, whether you are completely sober or you had a few drinks several hours ago. While this can be an inconvenience, particularly if you have not had anything to drink all night, DUI checkpoints are an essential tool for discouraging motorists from drunk driving.

In Georgia, it is entirely legal to conduct DUI checkpoints, provided the police officers follow the strict guidelines and requirements and the motorists’ legal rights are not violated. If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

What Happens at a DUI Checkpoint?

DUI checkpoints allow police officers to stop vehicles and determine whether a motorist shows signs of intoxication. Common signs that police officers will look for include bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol on the person’s breath. If a police officer suspects that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may ask you to step out of the vehicle so they can perform a field sobriety test or a Breathalyzer test. If either of these tests confirms that you are likely impaired, you may be arrested and brought to the hospital or the police station, where you will take a blood, breath, or urine alcohol test to determine the amount of alcohol in your system.

You do have the option of refusing to participate in a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test. It is widely known that both of these tests are notorious for being unreliable and producing false-positive results. In addition, if you fail either of these tests, the consequences you will face are much worse than if you politely refuse to take them. Your driver’s license may be suspended if you opt out of taking these tests, but an experienced DUI lawyer will protect your legal rights and help you get your license reinstated as soon as possible.

What Are the Legal Requirements for a DUI Checkpoint?

While DUI checkpoints are legal in the state of Georgia, they must meet the following requirements:

  • A police supervisor must approve the location of the checkpoint and the time it will be monitored. The supervisor must also have the legal authority to approve a checkpoint.
  • The purpose of the checkpoint must be specific. For example, it must be clear that the checkpoint is set up to search for impaired drivers instead of inspecting licenses or other purposes.
  • The checkpoint’s location must be clearly marked so that motorists are not caught off guard, which can increase the risk of a car accident. In addition, the checkpoint should be organized so that there is minimal interruption in traffic flow. If the DUI checkpoint causes traffic to become backed up, police can suspend the checkpoint until traffic flows again.
  • Police must stop every vehicle. It is illegal to conduct random checks.
  • At a DUI checkpoint, at least two uniformed police officers must be present. Additional officers may be required if necessary to maintain a steady flow of traffic around the temporary roadblock.
  • All officers stationed at a DUI checkpoint must be properly trained and have the experience to determine which motorists should be stopped, and a field sobriety test must be administered.

If a police officer at the DUI checkpoint does not meet the above criteria, it might be considered illegal. As a result, if you were arrested for drunk driving, any evidence collected during the checkpoint cannot be used in your case.

If you are facing drunk driving charges and believe that the DUI checkpoint was illegal, it is recommended that you contact a DUI lawyer at your earliest convenience. They will thoroughly review the details of your case, determine whether the checkpoint was conducted legally, and recommend the best legal course of action.

Is it Illegal to Avoid a DUI Checkpoint?

You may be tempted to turn around or take an alternate route if you approach a DUI checkpoint, particularly if you have had a few drinks and are concerned that you may not pass a field sobriety test. It is not illegal to avoid a DUI checkpoint as long as you do so in a safe manner and do not break any traffic laws. If you perform an illegal U-turn or violate any other traffic laws to avoid a DUI checkpoint, not only does avoiding a checkpoint make you look suspicious, but if a police officer stops you for breaking a traffic law, you will likely face penalties for those infractions. The best course of action is to avoid having any alcohol or drugs if you are going to be getting behind the wheel. Even a couple of drinks can cause a range of impairments that can increase the risk of a drunk driving accident. If a police officer stops you, you must legally comply with the officer’s request, including providing your driver’s license and registration.

Our Savannah DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Protect the Rights of Clients Who Are Arrested at a DUI Checkpoint

If you were arrested after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint, contacting our Savannah DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law is in your best interest. We will conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether mistakes were made during the DUI checkpoint or if your legal rights were violated. Our dedicated legal team will recommend the most effective strategy to protect your legal rights. To schedule a consultation, call 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Can I Be Charged With a DUI if I Was On Private Property?

If you are driving home after having one too many drinks, you may assume that once you have pulled into your driveway, a parking lot, a gated community, or any other area that is considered private property, you cannot be pulled over and charged with a DUI. However, a DUI is a severe offense in Georgia, and you can be charged with a DUI whether you are pulled over on a public road or private property.

If you were charged with a DUI while driving on private property, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer who can review the charges and recommend the best legal options.

What Are the Potential Penalties for a DUI on Private Property in Georgia?

Penalties for a DUI can be severe, even if you were driving on private property at the time. Depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the nature and severity of the accident, the penalties may be severe, including steep fines and a suspended license to a prison sentence.

The following are examples of potential penalties you may face based on whether this is your first offense or you have been charged with a DUI on multiple occasions:

  • If your BAC exceeds the legal limit, your driver’s license may be suspended for one year.
  • If your BAC is below the legal limit,  you may receive a limited driving permit, which will only allow you to drive to limited locations.
  • If this is your first offense, possible penalties include a minimum sentence of 24 hours in jail, fines of at least $300, and community service. You may also be required to complete DUI school and undergo a substance abuse treatment program.
  • If this is your second or third offense within five years, you may be charged with an aggravated misdemeanor, which may carry a fine of up to $5,000, a minimum 240-hour community service requirement, and probation for 12 months. In addition, you may be required to complete a mandatory drug program and undergo random alcohol and drug screenings.

What Should I Do if I Was Charged With a DUI While I Was Parked?

To be charged with a DUI, you must be in actual physical control of your vehicle.  If you were in your car, the keys were in the ignition, and the vehicle was running, this is typically enough to qualify as “actual physical control.” It is recommended that you consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with a DUI.

Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Facing DUI Charges

If you were charged with a DUI while on private property, speak with our skilled Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. To schedule a confidential consultation, call 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

How Does Bail Work in Georgia?

Although the words “bail” and “bond” are used in the same ways, “bail” refers to money provided as security to ensure you will be in court for the proceedings, while “bonds” are given by bonding companies, and are pledges made to ensure that your bail will be paid if you do not appear in court. If you have been accused of a crime like a DUI, both can keep you out of jail while you await trial. This can allow you to prepare a defense, but it will not be available if you have been accused of a severe crime. How does the system work?

Who Sets My Bail?

Judges can set bond amounts and there is also a bail schedule, which is a guideline that determines the amounts for different offenses. If your bail is set by the latter, you might not have to appear in front of a judge to have it set. A judge will consider how likely a defendant is to leave town when establishing bail and will look at the following:

  • How long the defendant has lived in the area.
  • If the defendant has family in the area.
  • Employment status
  • The defendant’s community ties.

The seriousness of the offense, public safety threats, and the defendant’s ability to pay will also weigh heavily on the decision. Judges will also look at the accused’s reputation, the likelihood of another offense, and the defendant’s past history of appearing or not appearing in court on earlier charges. Some charges are not eligible for bail.

How Do I Apply for Bail?

Once your amount of bail is set, you can apply for a bond if you do not have enough available cash to cover the whole amount. The bond company will need to know the basics: your name, date of birth, charges, the jail that you’re being held at, and the amount. You need to pay 15 percent of the bail and a small county fee – cash and credit cards are usually accepted. Once they are paid, the company handles the details.

If all goes well, you will be let out of jail and pursue your defense. Remember that bail is not the same thing as a fine because it is a promise that you will appear in court to face the charges. A Failure to Appear (FTA) leads to bail bond forfeiture. The court keeps the bail bond money, and a judge will issue an arrest warrant for your new charges. Besides that, you will be responsible for paying the entire amount of bail to the bond company.

Will I Be Offered Bail for a DUI?

Defendants charged with DUIs in George might be hit with jail time depending on the nature of the offense. The state’s laws stipulate that drivers with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 percent or more cannot be in actual physical control of vehicles; the percentage is .02 percent for drivers under age 21 and .04 percent for commercial vehicles. This applies to drugs and controlled substances.

For a first DUI offense, Offenders may face 10 days to 12 months of jail time. With a second, it is 90 days to 12 months. Those who are charged with a third DUI can spend 120 days to 12 months behind bars. This is on top of fines from $300.00 to $5,000.00, mandatory community service, insurance premium hikes and surcharges, license suspensions, and possible loss of license.

The Savannah DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Advise Clients on Bail, Bonds, and DUI Charges

For an initial consultation on matters pertaining to bail and DUIs, contact experienced Savannah DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law. Complete our online form or call us at 912-754-6003. Our offices are in Springfield, Georgia at 412 N. Laurel Street, and we help clients in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

What Are the Consequences of Getting a DUI in Georgia?

When you drive after drinking, you may be pulled over and asked to take a sobriety test or use a breathalyzer. You can be charged with Driving under the Influence (DUI) if you are pulled over and your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit of 0.08. If that happens, you will be arrested and likely spend the night in jail. That is just the beginning of your legal and financial problems.

There are steps you can take to reduce the negative impact a DUI has on your life and your livelihood. To find out what those steps are and to take action, speak with a trusted DUI lawyer today.

Conditions for a DUI

Under Georgia law, anyone driving a vehicle is subject to a DUI search. That means if a police officer suspects you of being under the influence while behind the wheel of a car, they can make you take a breathalyzer. Any driver with an elevated blood alcohol content level is presumed to be under the influence and can be arrested without any actual proof of further impairment.

If you refuse a breathalyzer test, you are presumed to be under the influence. This applies to both alcohol and drugs. If you have any detectable amount of illegal drugs in your system, that can also result in a DUI.

Georgia Fines and Jail Time

Georgia does not take a DUI lightly. The penalties the state levies depend on the number of prior DUI convictions a driver has within the last ten years.

  • For a first DUI, expect to receive 10 days to one year in jail, a $300 to $1000 fine, plus 40 hours or more of community service.
  • For a second DUI, you will spend 90 days to one year in jail, pay a $600 to $1000 fine, plus receive a minimum of 30 days of mandatory community service.
  • For a third offense, you will spend at least 120 days in jail and up to one year, you will pay a $1000 to $5000 fine, plus receive a minimum of 30 days mandatory community service.

DUI offenders may also be required to complete one year of probation after spending time in jail, or in place of it. However, every person arrested for a DUI in the state of Georgia will spend at least 24 hours in jail. For a second offense, you are required to spend at least 72 hours in jail and, for a third offense, a minimum of 15 days in jail.

After you are released from jail and placed on probation, you will also have to attend alcohol and drug classes, plus any other recommended treatment. You will need to get a certificate of completion from the courses and present it to a judge.

Georgia takes steps further for repeat offenders. If you get a second DUI in five years, you will have to surrender your license plate. A third DUI in five years means you will have to turn over your vehicle.

Driver’s License Penalties

Besides fines and jail time, a DUI in Georgia may also impact your driver’s license and your ability to drive.

  • For a first DUI, you will face a one-year driver’s license suspension.
  • A second DUI means you will face a three-year driver’s license suspension.
  • A third DUI means you will face permanent revocation of your driver’s license and your ability to drive.

If you have had your driver’s license suspended or revoked by the state, you may be able to get it reinstated. To do that, you would need to have completed your DUI education program and have a minimum amount of time pass since your DUI without further incident.

When a driver has their license suspended, they may also be able to apply for a hardship license. This allows the person the ability to drive during the suspension period but only for certain purposes and to certain locations. This could include work or to take your children to school. If you are granted this hardship license, you will need to install an ignition interlock device in your car. This device tests your blood alcohol content level before it allows you to start the vehicle. Not only is this device intrusive, it can also cost hundreds of dollars, a fee you will be solely responsible for covering.

Felony DUI

In criminal law, there are misdemeanors and felonies. Most DUIs are classified as a misdemeanor, which means you cannot be sentenced to more than one year in jail.

However, the law considers some DUIs to be more egregious criminal offenses and classifies them as a felony. What makes this determination is whether several factors are present:

  • Causing death to another person or unborn fetus
  • Causing serious bodily harm to another person or unborn fetus
  • Fleeing a police officer
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident
  • Having three or more DUI convictions in the past ten years

If you are facing a felony DUI, you could be looking at many years in jail, depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI. You could also face tens of thousands of dollars in penalties. On top of all that, you may have difficulty getting or holding a job, making it challenging for you to financially support yourself.

Act Fast

In Georgia, you only have 30 days to appeal a suspension of your driver’s license or the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car. If you do not appeal, you are essentially agreeing with the conviction and will find it extremely difficult to clear your name later. Your course of action immediately after your arrest for a DUI should include a phone call to a trusted and experienced DUI lawyer in Georgia.

Why is this important? This is different from the criminal proceeding. This is an administrative hearing to determine whether your driver’s license should be suspended. This hearing could have an impact on your ability to drive, even before your criminal DUI case is resolved.

This is why you need to request a hearing. If you fail to do so timely, you could see your driving privileges suspended for up to one year for your first DUI.

What to Do After Your DUI Arrest?

If this is your first DUI arrest, you do not have to give in and take whatever jail time and penalties the state hands down on you. You can fight to protect your rights and your livelihood.

If this is your second or third DUI, you can still protect your rights. There are steps you can take to reduce your sentence and the penalties you may face.

In either situation, a Georgia DUI attorney can help you. The legal complexities you face, both criminal and administrative, can seem daunting. With the right legal team at your side, you may be able to get your time in jail reduced or eliminated, have your probation reduced, get a reduction in the amount of penalties you will pay, and generally be able to keep some semblance of your normal life.

Without a lawyer, you risk everything. You may lose your ability to drive, which impacts your ability to work and make a living. Get the help you deserve today.

The Springfield DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Helps Protect Your Rights

Getting a DUI in Georgia can have serious impacts on your life. From making it hard to get and hold a job to reducing your ability to enjoy your life, not to mention all of the financial implications, your life can be severely altered by a single DUI. Luckily, you have legal options to reduce the damage done to your life. To help you determine your legal options, speak with the Springfield DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule your consultation by calling 912-754-6003 or filling out our online form. We proudly serve our Georgia neighbors in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

Can I Be Arrested for Driving Under the Influence of a Prescription Drug?

It is common knowledge that getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol can increase the risk of a car accident. Alcohol affects coordination, judgment, and the ability to react quickly to emergency driving situations. However, alcohol and illegal drugs are not the only substances that can cause motorists to become impaired. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause drowsiness, nausea, and other side effects that can affect a motorist’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. What may come as a surprise is the fact that you can receive a DUI for driving while under the influence of a prescription medication. If you are facing a DUI charge, contact a skilled DUI lawyer at your earliest convenience.

What Are Georgia’s DUI Laws?

Georgia has strict laws against driving under the influence of drugs, or any substance that can cause impairments. According to Georgia DUI laws, motorists are prohibited from driving, or being in control of a vehicle if they meet any of the following circumstances:

  • They are under the influence of alcohol or any drug to a degree that makes it less safe for them to be operating a motor vehicle.
  • They are under the influence of an aerosol, glue, or other toxic vapor to an extent that they are impaired, making it less safe for them to drive.
  • They are under the influence of two or more controlled substances, including opiates, stimulants, or depressants, to an extent that it is less safe for the person to operate a motor vehicle.
  • The driver’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 BAC or more within three hours of getting behind the wheel.
  • There is a detectable amount of marijuana or controlled substance present in the person’s blood, urine, or both.

How Can Prescription Drugs Impact My Ability to Drive Safely?

Prescription medications are used to treat a wide range of health conditions from depression and anxiety to hypertension and diabetes. However, many of these drugs also have side effects that can impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, even when you take the medication as prescribed. When combined with even a small amount of alcohol, impairments are often more extreme, although this is not always the case. The following are examples of how certain prescription medications can affect your driving:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Inability to focus
  • Delayed reactions

How Do Georgia’s DUI Laws Apply to Prescription Medications?

If you are taking a prescription medication that impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, you could be charged with a DUI. In addition, if you combine your prescription medication with even a small amount of alcohol, this can make you less safe as a driver.

Unfortunately, people do not always realize how their medications could impact their ability to drive, particularly if they are taking a combination of medications that could cause a range of side effects. In addition, motorists often assume that if they have a valid prescription for the prescription drugs they are taking, they will not face any legal consequences if they are facing a possible DUI charge, but that is not the case. If the prescription medication makes you a more dangerous driver, you could be charged with a DUI and face the same consequences as if you were under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI Charge?

If you have been charged with a DUI, the penalties are severe, even if the DUI charge involves a prescription drug. For example, Georgia DUI laws call for mandatory jail time, even if it is your first offense. If convicted, you may also face the following:

  • Alcohol and drug testing
  • Fees and costs
  • License restrictions
  • Mandatory DUI classes
  • Probation

When Can Prescription Medication Be Used as a Defense Strategy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 50 percent of all Americans take at least one prescription medication, and over 23 percent take three or more. Too often, drivers have no idea that they could face DUI charges for taking a prescription medication. However, if a law enforcement officer believes that your driving is impaired, they may first ask whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Next, they will ask whether you are taking any prescription medications. If the officer feels it is warranted, they may arrest you and request that you submit to a blood test. If it comes back positive for medication, the state may proceed with a DUI prosecution against you.

While simply stating that you have a valid prescription from a doctor is not a viable defense, it is important to understand that when the police officer charged you with a DUI, they had to make a judgment call regarding your level of impairment and if it meets the “less safe” requirement. Oftentimes, officers are wrong, or are too quick to charge a driver with a DUI when the driver is not actually impaired. When testifying in court, police officers are often unable to provide specific evidence about what effect the drug had on your ability to drive. In addition, when police conduct DUI stops, they often use the same sobriety tests for prescription medications as they do for alcohol. However, you may have an underlying condition that causes some of the same cues as being intoxicated, even if it has no impact on your ability to drive safely. Field sobriety tests are not approved by the courts to support a prescription drug DUI charge.

If a police officer orders you to provide a blood or urine sample for drug testing, keep in mind that prescription drugs are often detected even when you are no longer under the influence of that medication. For example, if you took an Ambien pill to help you sleep, and you get pulled over the next day, the medication will still be in your system even though you are no longer under the influence, or unsafe to drive. An experienced DUI lawyer will review your case, determine whether prosecutors are relying on inaccurate information, and develop an effective defense strategy aimed at reducing the charges or getting your case dismissed.

What Other Defense Strategies Are Used in DUI Cases?

Every DUI case is unique, and there is no single strategy that will be effective for every case, particularly when the case involves prescription medication. However, the following are examples of some of the best defenses the DUI lawyers often use:

  • The officer did not have a valid reason to initiate a DUI stop.
  • The field sobriety test was not issued according to procedure.
  • The driver was not properly advised about their implied consent rights about chemical testing.
  • The drug levels in a blood or urine test were within the therapeutic range.
  • The officer did not advise you of your Miranda rights prior to questioning.
  • Your blood sample was mixed up with another person’s sample.
  • The officer was not properly trained to make prescription drug DUI arrests.

How Can I Avoid a Prescription Drug DUI Charge?

If you are taking any type of medication, whether it is prescription or over the counter, it is important that you understand the effects that the drug can have on your body.

  • Read the label to see whether it should be taken with or without food, if it causes drowsiness or other side effects, and if it warns against driving or operating any type of machinery while taking the drug.
  • Speak to your doctor about your prescription, including possible side effects, and whether it will interact with any other drug you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and even vitamins and supplements.
  • Any time your physician starts you on a new course of treatment or increases the dose of a drug you are taking, ask them whether it is safe to drive while taking this drug.

Ask whether it will cause any of the following impairments:

  • Impaired coordination or balance
  • Slower reflexes
  • Drowsiness
  • Cognitive and decision-making impairments
  • Heightened anxiety or other mood-related issues
  • Medication makes it easier to become intoxicated

Savannah DUI Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help Motorists Who Have Been Charged with a DUI

If you have been charged with a prescription drug DUI, you are strongly urged to contact the Savannah DUI lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. We have a proven track record of developing effective defense strategies that protect our clients’ legal rights and avoid steep fines, license suspensions and jail time. Our skilled legal team will thoroughly review your case, address your questions and concerns, and recommend the best legal course of action. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. From our offices located in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve all clients of Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.

Steps to Take After Being Pulled Over For a DUI in Georgia

One of the most festive days of the year is quickly approaching – St. Patrick’s Day! While drinking green beer and hanging out with friends may be on your to-do list, be mindful that police officers will be on the roads in full force and road blocks will be everywhere. Consider these tips if you’re pulled over for a DUI:

  1. Don’t Make Suspicious Movements

    Once you’ve pulled over in a safe location, keep your hands on the wheel where the officer can see them. If the officer notices you are reaching for your glove compartment or underneath your seat while he is approaching your vehicle, the situation can escalate quickly. He may suspect you are reaching for a weapon or hiding incriminating evidence like a bottle of alcohol.

  2. Don’t Incriminate Yourself While Answering a Police Officer’s Questions

    The police officer who pulled you over will ask for your driver’s license, registration, insurance information, and the like. Politely hand that information to him and wait for his questions. Don’t voluntarily give information that may incriminate yourself. For example, “I’m sorry that I was speeding” or “I only had two drinks at the bar” are incriminating phrases that will be used against you in court.

  3. Follow the Police Officer’s Instructions

    If the police officer asks you to perform a field sobriety test or take a breathalyzer test, do so without causing a scene. If you refuse a breathalyzer test, your license will automatically be suspended. If these test results show the officer that you’ve been drinking, your DUI law team can still argue your case in your favor.

  4. Write Down the Event Details

    Once you’re released from the police station (if it leads to that), write down the details of the entire night. This information will be vital for your attorneys to create a case for you. Include information such as when you started drinking, how much alcohol you consumed, what locations you were at, who you were with, and more. No detail is too small to include during this process.

Contact An Attorney Who Understands Georgia DUI Laws and We’ll Fight For You

Sometimes, unfair judgment on behalf of the police officer and faulty equipment can result in an improper accusation. The Kicklighter Law team has extensive experience investigating the details of DUI cases. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’ve been pulled over for a DUI.


Call Us: 912-754-6003

412 North Laurel Street
Springfield, GA 31329

Telephone: 912-754-6003
Fax: 912-754-6336

Email: [email protected]

Providing Superior Representation All Across Georgia.