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Illinois Traffic Stops Must be Based on a Reasonable and Articulable Belief of a Traffic Violation

June 8th, 2016 at 11:08 am

Illinois traffic stops, Rolling Meadows DUI LawyerA police officer simply cannot stop you in Illinois on the grounds of drunk driving. Rather, law enforcement is not permitted to make a traffic stop without a reasonable and articulable belief that the driver has violated a traffic law, i.e., a reasonable suspicion that a law was broken. Stopping a driver for anything short of a reasonable and articulable belief that the driver has violated a traffic law would be an illegal seizure of the driver, which is a violation of the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights. Many people who are facing a DUI may be facing charges that are based on no actual violation of a traffic law. When there is no evidence of a reasonable and articulable belief that the driver broke the law, it means that the traffic stop was illegal.

How Do DUI Charges Come About?

Once a legal traffic stop has been made, a police officer can then witness evidence or facts that could lead the officer to believe that the driver was recently drinking alcohol, at which point a police officer can make allegations that the driver is driving while under the influence. Police can make a DUI arrest when they have a probable cause to believe that the driver broke the law. However, that is not to say that a driver may have engaged in activity while behind the wheel that made police suspicious as to whether the driver was under the influence of alcohol. There is a line between violating a traffic law and conducting oneself in a legal fashion, and sometimes police make mistakes about where that line is drawn.  

By way of a few examples, swerving within your own lane of traffic is not an illegal act. You might have been avoiding a pothole or other hazard in the road, weather conditions, such as a strong wind, might push your vehicle within your lane of traffic, or you might not have been paying close attention to your driving momentarily. However, as long as you stay in your own lane, you have not broken any traffic laws. Conversely, if you swerve between lanes of traffic in a dangerous or reckless way, or across a double yellow line into oncoming traffic, then you have committed a traffic violation and police can make a traffic stop.

Other reasons to make a traffic stop include:

  • Speeding violations;
  • Failing to comply with traffic signs and signals;
  • Driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt; and
  • Equipment violations, such as a broken tail light.

Let Us Assist You Today

Police must have a reason for pulling a driver over to do an investigatory traffic stop. If other facts present themselves to the officer that lead the officer to believe that the driver is driving while under the influence, then the officer can make a DUI arrest. If you are facing DUI charges, do not hesitate to contact a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI attorney for professional assistance with your case.

Sources:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-601

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K12-603.1

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Written by Staff Writer

June 8th, 2016 at 11:08 am

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