In the summer months, police departments across the United States seem to increase their efforts to identify drunk drivers. Among other things, this often includes setting up DUI checkpoints. Many people who have encountered DUI checkpoints wonder what their rights and legal duties are in such situations. Recently, a news station in Pennsylvania reached out to the ACLU for guidance on the issue. If you were accused of a DUI offense after you were stopped at a DUI checkpoint, it is in your best interest to meet with a skillful Illinois DUI defense lawyer to evaluate your options for protecting your interests.
What to Do When you See a DUI Checkpoint
Reportedly, a police department in Pennsylvania announced that they would set up a DUI checkpoint. The pronouncement raised the question of whether DUI checkpoints are lawful and inspired a news station to reach out to a Pennsylvania chapter of the ACLU for insight. What they learned was that although many parties have voiced concerns that DUI checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, both the United States Supreme Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court have deemed them lawful.
There are parameters police must comply with when setting up DUI checkpoints, however. For example, they must be suspicion free, which means, in part, that they must be conducted in a methodical manner. In other words, officers cannot use their discretion to determine who to pull over or select motorists at random.
The ACLU also noted that the Pennsylvania police must advertise the checkpoint in advance and place signs announcing upcoming checkpoints. If a driver sees such signs and changes their course so that they do not have to go through the checkpoint, that alone does not constitute grounds for pulling them over. They can be pulled over for failing to comply with other traffic laws, however.
Illinois Law Regarding DUI Checkpoints
Like Pennsylvania, it is lawful for police departments in Illinois to set up DUI checkpoints. In doing so, they must abide by the same requirements that are imposed in Pennsylvania. Specifically, they must announce the DUI checkpoint ahead of time and must follow a precise plan for which vehicles they pull over. There are time constraints as to how long they can operate a DUI checkpoint as well. As in Pennsylvania, motorists are permitted to redirect their vehicles to avoid a DUI checkpoint, as specifically stated in a ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Speak to a Trusted Illinois DUI Attorney
The police cannot violate a person’s constitutional rights in the process of investigating a DUI crime, and if they do, any evidence obtained during the investigation may be inadmissible. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is prudent to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a trusted Illinois DUI defense attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you to pursue the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can contact Mr. Harvatin by calling 217.525.0520 or using the form online to set up a meeting.