As any Illinois traffic and DUI lawyer knows, you must signal at least 100 feet before turning in a non-rural area. Failure to do so constitutes a traffic offense.
An arrest in Illinois for DUI often begins with a simple traffic offense. Common violations include speeding, improper lane usage (“weaving” or “swerving”), and disobeying a stop sign or stoplight.
Sometimes, there does not even have to be a traffic violation. If properly designed, police have the right to erect DUI roadblocks.
And even minor violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code can lead to a stop. This can be something as simple as a burned out license plate light, an expired license plate tag, an obstructed windshield (an air freshener hanging from the mirror) or failing to dim your headlights to oncoming traffic.
As a matter of fact, a Springfield Illinois DUI arrest began with the police pulling over the driver for not using his turn signal within 100 feet of an intersection. You probably would not be stopped in broad daylight for failing to use your turn signal. It is possible the police are using this minor offense as a pretext (“excuse”) to investigate a DUI at 11:00 in the evening.
The courts have upheld these pretext stops; the motive of the police is not relevant so long as they have reason to believe a violation occurred. Furthermore, even if the police are wrong and that there was no violation, the stop would be found legal if the officer reasonably believed there was a violation.
Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, you have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The key word here is “unreasonable”.
The courts have held that when you elect to occupy a motor vehicle, you have a lower expectation of privacy and therefore your Fourth Amendment rights are less than they would be if you were in your home. Nonetheless, if the court finds that the initial basis of the stop violated your Fourth Amendment rights, the courts will suppress the evidence and the state will be required to dismiss all charges, including any DUI charges