SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS

WERE YOUR RIGHTS VIOLATED? TRUST OUR TALENTED FIRM!

Sobriety checkpoints may remind you of commercials preventing drunk driving, but they are real and enacted often in the state of Illinois. Unfortunately, drivers are not always arrested for DUI based on actual evidence and can end up being needlessly convicted without the representation of a skilled attorney.

When your future is on the line, your case requires the quick-thinking attorneys at Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Our DUI defense attorneys have successfully fought over 10,000 cases in DuPage, Kane, and Cook counties. It would be our privilege to do the same for you. Call our office today at (630) 474-8000 for your free case evaluation.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY ARREST WAS LAWFUL?

At every sobriety checkpoint, police officers are looking for certain signs of impairment in passing drivers. This can include anything from slurred speech to a flushed face and may prompt the officer to pull the suspect to the side and administer field sobriety tests.

What seems like a conclusive method of arresting drunk drivers is often not. Officers tend to arrest drivers without any actual evidence and can even fail to abide by basic guidelines imposed by the National Highway Safety Transportation Board, which can have a huge impact on the validity of the arrest.

The Fourth Amendment and related case law prohibit police from simply stopping and detaining people whenever they want. Instead, in order to make a traffic stop, police should have a reasonable suspicion that a driver committed a crime. If this is the case, how are officers allowed to pull over cars at random at a sobriety checkpoint with no supported suspicion of criminal activity? Lawmakers and courts in Illinois decided that sobriety checkpoints are an important DUI enforcement and deterrence tool and that these checkpoints do not violate a driver’s constitutional rights as long as they meet certain requirements.

The following guidelines must be followed for an arrest stemming from a DUI checkpoint to be lawful:

  • The checkpoints are to be broadcasted ahead of time
  • Police authority at the checkpoints should be visible
  • Chemical testing should be available on-site
  • Officers must be properly trained beforehand

In addition, police officers may not engage in any racial bias—or any other type of bias—when conducting a checkpoint. For example, police do not have to stop every car that passes through—instead, they can stop every third car or use another similar pattern. Police cannot, however, only stop people of a certain race or make other biased decisions during a checkpoint. If police stop you out of bias and then arrest you, your arrest violates your Fourth Amendment rights.

Police at checkpoints may also be hypersensitive to any possible signs of intoxication. Because police are specifically looking for drunk drivers—and expecting to make an arrest—they may mistake nervousness, fatigue, or other conditions as alcohol or drug impairment. This can lead to wrongful arrests without the supporting evidence the police need to have probable cause.

The circumstances surrounding your arrest must be thoroughly investigated, ideally by someone trained and with numerous years of experience. This is why it is so important to retain an attorney for your case.

WHAT TO DO AT A SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT

First and foremost, the best way to avoid a DUI arrest is to not drive after having too much to drink. However, we all know that sometimes, police can wrongfully arrest sober drivers, especially at DUI checkpoints. Look online to see if police have any checkpoints planned in your area, which is particularly common around almost every holiday.

If you see a roadblock ahead, you can legally avoid it, when possible. If you can turn onto another street while staying in compliance with all traffic laws, it is legal to do so. Be certain that police will be watching any cars that try to do this, however, and will pull anyone over who commits a traffic violation.

If police stop you at a roadblock, know that you do not have to answer their questions. You should show your license but politely decline to discuss whether you have had anything to drink or any other questions asked. Know that an officer will be carefully watching for any signs of intoxication, which can include slurred speech, confused answers, nervousness, and more. It is better to remain silent when possible.

When police ask you to pull over to the side and undergo field sobriety tests, you have the right to refuse. While refusing to participate in roadside FSTs will not always prevent an arrest, it can limit the evidence that prosecutors may have in a subsequent DUI case. On the other hand, know that if you refuse a breath test, authorities can suspend your license for a year.

OUR DUPAGE, KANE AND COOK COUNTY DUI LAWYERS HAVE WHAT IT TAKES!

Conducting a proper DUI investigation is not easy, but when done right, it can form an airtight defense for your case. Our attorneys are not only experienced in the field of criminal defense, but are also former prosecutors. This unique perspective is fundamental in the successful outcome of your case.

When you hire Martin & Kent, L.L.C, we want you to feel confident in your choice. This is why we offer 24/7 availability and free initial consultations. You are our priority, so contact our firm right away at (630) 474-8000 to get a dedicated advocate on your side.