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Are DUI roadblocks legal in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2017 | Drunk Driving

If you’re facing charges that resulted from a traffic stop at a roadblock, you may be wondering about that law enforcement tactic. It may not seem quite fair, even a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. When did simply getting behind the wheel of a car create reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop and sobriety test? Before delving deeper, it’s important to note that it’s critical to your future to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Illinois.

Roadblocks aren’t the only reason why those who were not intoxicated could face DUI charges. Other issues could arise from a faulty breath testing unit or any number of plausible causes during a major roadblock initiative.

Roadblocks are, in fact, legal in all states

It’s important to realize that roadblocks like the one where you received your ticket or were arrested are actually perfectly legal. Their legality was decided back in 1990, as the result of a lawsuit hailing from Michigan contesting the legality of a roadblock. The justices decided that because the overall inconvenience for the average driver was only a few seconds, it was not unreasonable. Police may stop and briefly speak with the inhabitants of a vehicle without violating their rights.

If anything during that conversation gives the officer reason to suspect intoxicated driving, at that point they have reasonable suspicion to ask you to pull aside, search you and administer a field sobriety test. That test, in turn, can provide justification for your arrest and the filing of any subsequent charges. Because this precedent was set at a federal level, it allows for the use of DUI checkpoints and roadblocks across the country.

Just because the roadblock was legal doesn’t mean you don’t have a defense

While you can’t get DUI charges thrown out because they originated during a roadblock or checkpoint initiative, you don’t have to give up on a defense. You should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Your attorney can review the details of your situation and help you decide what the best potential defensive strategy will be going forward.

Perhaps law enforcement were only stopping certain vehicles, not all of them, which could indicate profiling or other forms of discrimination. Perhaps an officer administered an inconclusive sobriety test. Maybe you have reason to doubt the accuracy of a breath test taken at the scene. Whatever the issue, if you advise your attorney, he or she can then determine if those details will help with a defensive strategy. Retaining the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney is likely your best option when facing a DUI charge in Illinois!