Drivers in Illinois can expect law enforcement to be more visible and more active during the upcoming July 4th holiday period. Far more people take to the roads in Illinois during the summer months, and the state’s Department of Transportation provides grants to local police departments to help them to deal with the increased traffic volume and launch initiatives designed to enforce traffic laws and prevent accidents.
The Joliet City Police Department has been awarded such a grant, and the department’s chief says that the funds will be used to step up efforts to apprehend impaired drivers and enforce the state’s seat belt laws over the extended weekend. More police vehicles will be on patrol, and special seat belt zones will be set up, but most of the additional officers will be deployed to sobriety checkpoints to help identify possible drunk drivers.
In addition to checking that passenger vehicle occupants are unimpaired and properly restrained, police in Joliet will be on the lookout for drivers who are using cellphones or other mobile electronic devices while behind the wheel and cars that violate the Illinois Vehicle Code. The campaign was launched on June 26, and it will run until July 9.
While the Supreme Court may have ruled that sobriety checkpoints do not violate the U.S. Constitution, police officers must still have probable cause before ordering motorists to submit to breath tests or take field sobriety tests. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to have drunk driving charges either reduced or dismissed if police reports suggest that officers may have strayed beyond firmly established constitutional boundaries. Attorneys could also ask prosecutors to show leniency when their clients have behaved well in the past and caused no injuries or property damage.