Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.

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An offer you cannot refuse

In most cases, law enforcement, whether your local police department, sheriff's department or the Illinois Highway State Police, cannot simply pull your car over and begin searching for evidence of some criminal activity.

They must first have either reasonable suspicion that some criminal activity has occurred or is about to occur, as search warrant, or they must witness you commit some infraction of a traffic law to stop your vehicle.

The other exception to this procedure is the use of sobriety checkpoints. Due to the seriousness of the problem of drunk driving, the U.S. Supreme Court has authorized the use of sobriety checkpoints, which allows law enforcement to randomly stop motorists and ascertain whether the driver exhibits signs of intoxication.

Recently, police have begun to use "no refusal" stops. Even though Illinois is an implied consent state, meaning you consent to alcohol testing when you obtain a drivers license, some people refuse a breath test when stopped.

At a "no refusal" checkpoint, law enforcement has judges standing by on the phone, so they can obtain a search warrant that authorizes the blood draw for those suspected of intoxication.

Various law enforcement agencies in the Chicago area use the checkpoints at different times during the year. They often target holidays and events that produce higher numbers of drunk drivers. Kane County, for instance, employed "no refusal" checkpoints during the Super Bowl, but because that coincided with a blizzard, it only netted a single DUI charge.

Kane County prosecutor's office promises to hold more "no refusal" DUI checkpoints this year, potentially around the Fourth of July, Labor Day or near Thanksgiving.

Sobriety checkpoints have been questioned as to their usefulness, as they typically produce low numbers of arrests. Law enforcement defend the practice as valuable and claim it raises awareness of the issue and reduces drunk driving by causing drivers to modify their behavior.

Source: dailyherald.com, "More 'No Refusal' DUI patrols coming in Kane County," Harry Hitzeman, June 7, 2015

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