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Drinking and Driving and Summer Holidays

As Chicagoland enjoys the warm, sunny days that summertime brings us, drivers should be aware of DUI roadblocks along Illinois roadways. Roadside checkpoints require every driver to stop and talk to an officer, who examines them for signs of intoxication. As you navigate traffic during the summer holiday weekends, remember your rights and responsibilities. You should contact our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus if you were stopped and arrested for DUI. We offer specified legal guidance at a consultation.

Are DUI Roadside Checkpoints Legal?

Illinois law allowed DUI checkpoints in 1985. In a search and seizure, the officer needs to have a “reasonable suspicion” to stop a driver. However, such does not apply to checkpoints, and so they are controversial since officers can pull over drivers and question them based on any suspicion whether or not it is reasonable. The federal court case Michigan v. Sitz upheld the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints based on the premise that the alleged safety benefits outweigh any inconveniences. However, in certain situations, an arrest made at a DUI checkpoint may not fall within the law’s bounds:  

  • Vehicles pulled over at a checkpoint should be chosen randomly and according to a sequence or pattern.
  • Officers cannot order every passenger in the vehicle to take a sobriety test. Even though the officer doesn’t need a reasonable suspicion to stop someone at a DUI checkpoint, they still need such for those kinds of testing. 
  • These checkpoints are not designated for general crime prevention. For instance, aside from limited, extreme situations, a police officer cannot set up a checkpoint in order to catch a fleeing robber. 
  • If the driver possesses alcohol, drugs or contraband that are clearly visible when they are stopped, the officers might be allowed to use the “plain view doctrine.” This means they can seize the items and arrest you without a search warrant. 

If the arresting officer failed to follow the guidelines for DUI checkpoints, it’s possible to have your charges dismissed. Officers must act according to federal or state constitution, or else the state cannot hold any of the evidence against you. 

What Should I Do If I Was Arrested?

 If an officer arrests you at a DUI checkpoint, you need to know your rights. Under an initiative by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers in Illinois may be subject to a blood test if they refuse to complete a breathalyzer test. However, you are typically not legally obligated to talk to an officer nor agree to a sobriety test or breathalyzer test. Watch out for officers who claim that they can make a “deal” to lessen your charges or won’t arrest you if you agree to the test. These promises may fall under police misconduct, as it is the prosecutor’s right to decide the charges that will be held against you. 

Contact Our Skokie Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint, speak to a criminal defense lawyer at the soonest opportunity. You have the right to an attorney and should contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus to begin building your defense. We work hard to protect your rights.

For Over 33 Years

Senior Partner Jonathan Minkus has successfully defended individuals charged with every conceivable criminal offense, from traffic misdemeanors to death-penalty eligible homicides.

We urge you to contact us for a FREE, confidential, initial consultation.

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