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Springfield Illinois DUI Roadblocks

With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, now is a good time to understand your rights if you are arrested for DUI in Springfield Illinois. Many of these arrests occur when a driver encounters a DUI roadblock. Instead of referring to it as a roadblock, police use the term “roadside safety check”. That sounds so nice; after all, who could object to something done for “safety”?

The federal government encourages these intrusions on your privacy, as most of them are funded from grants through the United Stated Department of Transportation. Last St. Patrick’s Day, Springfield Illinois DUI roadblocks were set up.

Fortunately, in order to protect its citizens from Gestapo-like tactics (“may I see your papers”), the courts have established some ground rules for implementation of the roadblocks. A rogue cowboy cop out on the street cannot decide it’s a good time to establish a DUI roadblock. Rather, a supervisor must select the site for the roadblock.

Furthermore, the supervisor cannot decide at 5:00 in the evening that now is a good time for roadblocks. The intention to establish one must be made apparent to the public in advance. That is why you will often read in the newspaper or hear on the radio or television of the authorities’ intention to set up a roadblock.

Moreover, there must be a predetermined plan of which cars will be stopped (for instance, every fifth car). The sequence cannot be random and they cannot single out certain types of vehicles (every pick up truck, every old car, every car with “whiskey dents”).

The guidelines for who, how and when stops will occur must be written. A DUI lawyer knows how to determine if written guidelines exist and if the guidelines comply with the law. They must be conveyed in advance to the public and to the officers in the field. It is not enough for them to tell the cop “stop them if they seem suspicious to you, even if you have no evidence before you stop them that they have been drinking.”

Finally, once the police stop you, they cannot automatically start investigating you for DUI and require that you submit to standardized field sobriety tests. They must have a “reasonable suspicion” based upon “specific and articulable facts” that you are drunk. A “mere hunch” is not enough.

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