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San Francisco DUI Lawyer - DUI Checkpoint Avoidance

Posted on in DUI

Blakely v. State
___Ga.App.___, ___S.E.2d ___ WL 2148158 (June 14, 2012)

This decision comes on the heels of the GA Supreme Court’s holding in Jones (see above), and vividly demonstrates the extent to which an officer can be permitted to “mind read" the intent behind a motorist’s driving maneuver as the basis for stopping him.

“[Officer] Bennett noticed the headlights of [Defendant’s] vehicle approaching the roadblock, at which point [Defendant] ‘immediately’ made a ‘kind of sudden turn’ into a driveway, backed out, and drove away from the checkpoint. Bennett testified that [Defendant] was ‘probably less than a quarter of a mile’ from the checkpoint when he turned around, and Bennett ‘could barely see to where [Defendant] pulled in the drive.’ Bennett explained that the road curved, ‘with a hill,’ between the driveway where [Defendant] turned around and the roadblock."

In essence, the Defendant’s legal, three-point turn almost a quarter of a mile before a checkpoint was sufficient to find reasonable suspicion for the warrantless enforcement stop. This was the ruling even though “Bennett [additionally] testified that department policy required him to stop anyone who “turned around while we have [a] road check." (emphasis added).

Burglin commentary : The department policy “requiring" the stop of anyone merely turning around, regardless of apparent reason, should have been grounds to find the checkpoint was unconstitutionally operated. It does not appear from the record that this argument was advanced.

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