Georgia Supreme Court Issues Latest DUI/Drunk Driving Opinion in Checkpoint Cases


In or around April 16, 2010, precinct commander captain Charles Cox emailed precinct officers instructing them to conduct a directed traffic enforcement at a location in Cobb County, Georgia. Cox referenced a citizen complaint about speeding, racing and littering on Groover Road. The next day, Sergeant Andrew Marchetta sent an officer to survey Groover Road for its applicability for a traffic checkpoint. The officer reported back to Sergeant Marchetta that the road was not conducive to traffic enforcement using speed detection devices due to the limited sight distances on the road. Sergeant Marcetta then decided a few days later to set up a traffic safety checkpoint on Groover Road. Sergeant Marcetta's plan was to stop every vehicle approaching the checkpoint from either direction and check the driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Officer David Smith assisted Sergeant Marchetta with the checkpoint. The checkpoint/road block began on April 9, 2010, at approximately 6:45 p.m. while it was still daylight outside. The checkpoint was marked by two traffic cones, two patrol cars that were parked with their blue lights on, and the officers themselves who were wearing bright yellow vests.

At around 7:05 p.m., the appellant (Douglas Brown), approached the checkpoint in a Nissan Maxima vehicle with a pizza delivery sign on it. He initially attempted to drive around the checkpoint, but when Officer Smith yelled at him to stop, he did so. Officer Smith told Sergeant Marchetta that he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the appellant's vehicle. Ultimately, Brown was arrested for DUI/drunk driving and a drug offense.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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