Local law enforcement agencies use DUI checkpoints as a means of deterring motorists from driving while under the influence of alcohol and other substances. But, are these checkpoints legal and what should you do if you happen to drive through one?
Legality of DUI Checkpoints
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a serious legal offense in Illinois and local law enforcement agencies often set up checkpoints as a way to get inebriated drivers off the road before they injure themselves or others.
These checkpoints also regularly catch drivers who are not under the influence of any substance, leading to the Constitutional question do they violate the Fourth Amendment right of protection against unlawful search and seizure.
However, the Supreme Court answered that question when it rules that the checkpoints are both a valid tool for law enforcement and legal because they help keep intoxicated and unsafe drivers off the road.
What To Do If You Come To a Checkpoint
You have a right to attempt to avoid a DUI checkpoint, as long as you follow the laws of the road. If you are already in the checkpoint, however, you will need to go through it.
While a DUI attorney can fully advise you on your rights after you've been involved in a checkpoint stop, there are steps you can take to protect yourself during the event:
Slow down as you approach.
Cooperate fully with the officers.
You have the right to refuse to answer if you have been drinking.
Do not allow officers to search your vehicle. They have no legal right to do so.
Drive away when given permission or pull over if you are asked to do so
DUI Laws in Illinois
Before you receive a ticket or are arrested for driving under the influence, you are able to refuse a breath test with no consequences. Under Illinois law, after you have received a ticket or been arrested, drivers are then required to submit to chemical testing.
While you may still refuse at this point, drivers who do so are subject to having their licenses suspended for a year, plus the penalties that may be levied if you are convicted of drunken driving. Your best DUI defense is to hire an experienced attorney.
The decisions that drivers are sometimes forced to quickly make at a DUI checkpoint and when they are charged with DUI can have a significant and lasting impact on their financial, legal, and personal futures. DUI defense Attorney Sarah Toney has the legal expertise to fight for you during this time in your life.
If you have been charged with a DUI, contact The Toney Law Firm at (888) 473-4058 to discuss your possible defense today.