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How Might an Illinois Court Rule in a Felony DUI Case Arising Out of an Illegal Arrest?

The United States Constitution affords people in every state numerous rights, including the right against unreasonable search and seizure. What constitutes a violation of that right varies, but in many states, a person cannot be arrested for a misdemeanor crime absent a warrant or an observation by a police officer of the person committing the crime, and any evidence produced after the arrest may be dismissed. This was demonstrated recently in Idaho, in a case in which felony DUI charges were dismissed due to the unlawful nature of the misdemeanor DUI arrest that led to the felony charge. If you were recently charged with DUI in Illinois following an arrest, it is prudent to speak to an experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney to determine whether your arrest was improper and whether you may be able to avoid a conviction.

The Idaho Case

Reportedly, the police received a call regarding an erratic driver that was allegedly intoxicated. Subsequently, the police observed the defendant’s vehicle, which was parked in the defendant’s driveway. The defendant was not in his vehicle at the time. The defendant was arrested for misdemeanor DUI and transported to the police station, where he underwent a breath test. Following the breath test, it was revealed that the defendant had prior DUI convictions, and therefore, his charge was increased to a felony.

The defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of his breath test, arguing it constituted an illegal search and seizure as, under Idaho law, an officer cannot arrest a person for a misdemeanor absent an observation of a crime or a warrant. The court granted the motion and ultimately dismissed the felony DUI charge, due to the fact that the misdemeanor arrest was illegal, as the officer did not have a warrant or observe any illegal activity.

Grounds for a Misdemeanor Arrest in Illinois

Similarly to Idaho, an Illinois appellate court recently held that an officer could not arrest a person without a warrant or witnessing the person committing the crime, in a case in which a person was arrested following an investigative alert. The court specifically prohibited arrests based on investigative alerts, which are merely alerts that indicate it is believed a suspect committed a crime. The court found that the practice of arresting people solely based on investigative alerts was unconstitutional, as it violated both the Illinois and United States Constitutions’ protections against unreasonable search and seizure. While the Illinois court did not differentiate between felonies and misdemeanors, one could argue that the ruling applies to crimes of any degree, including DUI charges. Thus, a person arrested for DUI absent a warrant or an observation of the commission of a crime may be able to have the charges dismissed.

Consult a Seasoned DUI Defense Attorney

If you were arrested for DUI in Illinois, you should consult a seasoned Illinois DUI defense attorney to discuss whether your arrest was improper and what defenses you may be able to assert. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a skilled DUI defense attorney who can assist you in protecting your rights. You can contact Mr. Harvatin via the online form or at 217.525.0520 to schedule a consultation.

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