Many Illinois residents will drive to destinations around the state to celebrate the holidays. In fact, over 54.3 million people traveled at least 50 miles over Thanksgiving in 2018. While the holidays are usually joyous, they can also become stressful. Planning events, driving more than usual, and shopping can become draining. The holiday hustle and bustle makes it easier to drink and drive, drive while distracted, speed, and fail to wear a seatbelt. Law enforcement refer to these unsafe driving practices as the “Fatal Four.”All of these potentially deadly behaviors are more likely during holiday weekends.
Illinois police are taking steps to enforce DUI laws over the holidays this year. The Illinois State Police recently unveiled their plan to prevent DUI-related accidents during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s celebrations. Police officers will become highly visible on Illinois interstates and heavily traveled state routes in order to aggressively enforce DUI laws. The goal of police efforts is to decrease the number of fatal collisions throughout the holiday season.
Tips for Avoiding a DUI During the Holidays
It is wise to keep your registration, license, and insurance information in an easily accessible folder in your glove compartment, or next to you. If you have been drinking and you are unsure whether or not you are too buzzed to drive, play it on the safe side and call for an Uber or Lyft. Know that popular highway exit ramps are often DUI checkpoint locations.
What are My Rights at a DUI Checkpoint in Illinois?
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unwarranted searches and seizures. When police officers do not have probate cause to conduct a search and seizure, they are likely in violation of your rights. The following situations are usually probable cause for searching a vehicle at a roadside DUI checkpoint:
- Seeing an open container of alcohol
- Seeing a weapon in plain sight
- Smelling the odor of drugs or alcohol coming from the driver, a passenger, or the inside of the vehicle
If you are pulled over at a checkpoint, you have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. This means that you do not have to answer any questions without the presence of an attorney. However, if you refuse to do a field sobriety test or blow into a blood alcohol measuring device, the police may arrest you and take you back to the station. Remember that when police officers ask you questions like whether or not you have been drinking, they are not engaging in small talk. They are gathering evidence that could be important in a prosecutor’s case.
The police will not necessarily go easier on you if you cooperate and answer their questions. If you do decide to invoke your rights and not answer police questions, it is wise to contact an attorney as soon as possible upon your arrival at the police station. At Glasgow & Olsson, our skilled DUI defense attorneys have successfully represented thousands of Chicago-area clients with DUI arrests. Contact our DUI defense law firm today.
(image courtesy of Steve Halama)