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DeKalb County Roadblock is Legal: Hurt v. State

HURT v. THE STATE, A10A2229, Court of Appeals of Georgia, Decided: November 16, 2010. Rico Hurt was convicted of DeKalb DUI illegal blood alcohol level after a bench trial in the DeKalb County State Court in Decatur, Georgia. The DUI Decatur roadblock was found to be legal. The DUI arrestee argued the roadblock was illegal.  A police roadblock satisfies constitutional mandates where:

(1) the decision to implement the roadblock was made by supervisory personnel at the programmatic level, rather than officers in the field, for a legitimate primary purpose;

(2) all vehicles, rather than random vehicles, are stopped;

(3) the delay to motorists is minimal;

(4) the roadblock is well identified as a police checkpoint; and

(5) the screening officer has adequate training to make an initial determination as to which motorists should be given field sobriety tests.

Hurt argued that the Roadblock was deficient in the 1st, 2nd, and 5th factors. A sergeant on the DeKalb DUI task force approved the DUI. He decided the time, duration, and location of the roadblock and got approval from his lieutenant. The Court of Appeals found that this satisfied the programmatic level supervisor requirement. Second, there was testimony that the roadblock was stopped if traffic got congested. The Court of Appeals found that this was a common-sense exception to the Constitutional minimum mandates and not fatal to the roadblock. Finally, the Court of Appeals that Officer Whelchel was a member of the DeKalb DUI taskforce or the Star Team and had special training in DUI detection and satisfied the adequate training in DUI Detection requirements. Therefore, the decision of the DeKalb County State Court DUI trial judge was affirmed.