Police officers will often conduct a traffic stop if they believe there is evidence that a motorist is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Typically, such evidence includes swerving, ignoring traffic laws, and otherwise driving erratically. In some instances, though, an officer may fabricate a reason to conduct a DUI traffic stop. This was illustrated recently in California, where bodycam footage revealed that a police officer lied about the grounds for conducting a stop and the suspect’s behavior during the course of a DUI investigation. If you were arrested for a DUI offense in Illinois without sufficient evidence of wrongdoing, a knowledgeable Illinois DUI defense lawyer can help you explore your options for fighting to avoid a conviction.
The California Investigation
Allegedly, a California court recently found that a veteran police officer who was assigned to the West Traffic Division of Los Angeles was guilty of lying during a DUI investigation that occurred in 2019. The officer faced one felony count each of perjury and filing a false report. Additionally, he has been “assigned home” during an administrative investigation and could face up to four years and eight months in state prison.
It is reported that the officer had stopped a man driving a vehicle for making a dangerous left turn into oncoming traffic and nearly causing a collision. The officer conducted a field sobriety test and ultimately arrested the man on suspicion of DUI, as mentioned in a police report. However, prosecutors said that video footage from the officer’s body-worn camera showed that the driver had waited for all cars to pass before making the turn. The Los Angeles city attorney raised concerns about the officer’s body-camera footage, and DUI charges were never filed against the driver. Per reports, the officer, whose sentencing is scheduled for May 12, was arrested in July 2021.
DUI Investigations in Illinois
In Illinois, a person can face a DUI charge for driving while intoxicated or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more. An officer must have reasonable suspicion that a driver violated the law or committed a traffic violation to stop them, however. Nonetheless, not all Illinois DUI stops are lawful. If a DUI suspect can demonstrate that a police officer lacked the probable cause needed to conduct a traffic stop, they may be able to prove the stop was illegal and that any evidence obtained during the stop should be inadmissible.
Talk to a Skilled Illinois DUI Attorney Today
The police must have adequate grounds to stop a person for suspected DUI, and if they conduct a stop without a reasonable basis, it may be unlawful. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is smart to talk to an Illinois DUI defense attorney to assess your charges and what defenses you may be able to assert. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a skilled attorney who can advise you of your rights and assist you in seeking a favorable outcome. You can contact Mr. Harvatin at 217.525.0520 or through the form online to set up a meeting.