Throughout the calendar year and during many holidays, Illinois law enforcement agencies work diligently to prevent accidents and casualties caused by intoxicated driving. Of course, your standard DUI pull-over and arrest might come to mind. However, another common method Illinois and DuPage County law enforcement officers may use to crack down on DUIs is the roadside DUI checkpoint.
At a roadside DUI checkpoint, police officers set up a barricade where passing drivers are required to stop and interact with the officers before driving onwards. During this interaction, if a police officer suspects that the driver is driving under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance specified by Illinois law, they may request for the driver to pull over and perform field sobriety tests or other preliminary checks to determine the driver's sobriety.
If, during your interactions at the checkpoint, the officer finds probable cause that you may be driving under the influence, they may place you under arrest for suspected DUI. As a result, you may be asked to comply with chemical sobriety testing and be charged with driving under the influence.
(For more information about your rights during Illinois sobriety tests, check out our guide to Illinois sobriety testing laws before and during a DUI arrest or our comprehensive guide to Illinois DUI checkpoints.)
Facing an Illinois or DuPage County DUI Checkpoint? Here's What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
Coming across a roadside DUI checkpoint can be very daunting and unnerving to anyone who is behind the wheel, regardless of whether they are intoxicated. Even if you haven't committed any offense, being stopped and required to interact with law enforcement can be an extremely intimidating scenario. And in a worst case scenario, you could be charged and convicted of a DUI -- leading to harsh penalties and driver's license suspensions which will impact your life for many years to come.
Whatever your case may be, though, here are some tips for keeping your cool and playing it smart if you do encounter a roadside DUI checkpoint in DuPage County or any other Illinois municipality.
Short, But Sweet is Key
When it comes to your interactions with the officer, less is better. When engaged in questioning, keep your answers concise and don't speak more than necessary. The less you offer the officer, the less they have to use against you if they suspect you are intoxicated. Avoid prolonged conversation if at all possible.
Keep in mind that when a police officer is questioning you at a DUI roadblock, their objective is to gather enough evidence or probable cause to arrest and charge you with a DUI. Your objective, on the other hand, is to not give them evidence or probable cause.
At the same time, you don't want to be concise to the point where the officers become frustrated with your demeanor and end up giving you a harder time, which takes us to our next tip --
Play it Nice
In any situation involving law enforcement, it's important to be civil and polite to the officers. Don't antagonize the police. Having an attitude or being difficult can give police officers further reason to scrutinize your interactions and seek out a reason to arrest or charge you.
Some key tips are to greet the officer politely, address them as ‘officer', and make sure your tone doesn't come off defensive or rude. Speak clearly and concisely -- try not to mumble your words or ramble. All of these are simple ways to be polite and civil when communicating with law enforcement in any setting, whether it's a DUI checkpoint or a different scenario.
Detour with Caution
By law, DUI checkpoints must offer drivers the opportunity to divert from the checkpoint by turning into a different street or taking an exit. It is perfectly legal to spot an upcoming checkpoint and turn onto a side road to avoid the roadblock.
Many drivers encounter issues, however, when it comes to the process of detouring. If, while diverting from the roadblock, the driver commits any traffic offenses or breaks any traffic rules, they can be pulled over by law enforcement. Oftentimes, around a DUI roadblock, there will be officers who are watching approaching traffic in order to spot any driving errors.
If you do choose to divert from a roadblock, make sure you follow all traffic rules to the tee. This is not the time to switch on a turn signal late or make any rolling stops. Definitely, do not make a u-turn in the middle of a road near a DUI checkpoint -- that is almost a guarantee to be pulled over by a police officer. Drive as perfectly and by-the-book as you can, in order to avoid giving law enforcement any reason to pull you over.
Need Assistance with an Illinois or DuPage County DUI? Contact Dolci & Weiland DUI Defense Lawyers
If you have been arrested and/or charged for an Illinois DUI while out on the road, contact the seasoned DUI defense attorneys at Dolci & Weiland for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. As former prosecutors, we know how to exploit the weaknesses of your case to get you optimal results and possibly avoid the harsh penalties which come with a DUI conviction. Did the DUI checkpoint violate your Fourth Amendment rights in any way, or was there improper following of police procedures during your arrest? We can use factors such as these to defend your case.
Whether you were arrested at a roadside DUI checkpoint or pulled over by an officer, your Illinois driver's license is at risk of suspension and you may face severe consequences if you are convicted. There is much at stake in a DUI case, and having an experienced DUI defense attorney at your side can make all the difference for your case. To schedule your free consultation and speak with a lawyer today, call the law offices of Dolci & Weiland at (630) 261-9098. We are here to help.