A DUI sobriety checkpoint or roadblock is a public area where law enforcement can detain drivers in order to determine whether or not they are intoxicated. These checkpoints are typically conducted on a public road during hours in which motorists are most likely to be driving drunk, such as after midnight or on holidays. While there are many states that do not allow sobriety checkpoints, Illinois is not one of them.
Although the Fourth Amendment offers protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the U.S. Supreme Court found that DUI roadblocks are constitutional as long as the stop isn’t arbitrary or motivated by anything other than important government purpose. Legally conducted sobriety checkpoints will serve the purpose of preventing and deterring drunk driving as well as maintaining highway safety. The state of Illinois must ensure that driver’s privacy rights are upheld during these stops.
At a DUI checkpoint, law enforcement officers do not need reasonable suspicion to stop or question you. The officer will look for signs that you are intoxicated, such as slurred speech, uncoordinated movement or the smell of alcohol. If you appear to be intoxicated, then you may be subject to a field sobriety test.
It is important to remember that you do have the right to remain silent and you are not required to answer any questions. Although the officer can look for physical signs of intoxication, the officer does not have the right to search your car. You can also refuse to submit to a field sobriety test, as Illinois law does not require you to comply. However, an officer can still elect to arrest you based on any behavior observed during your stop. Additionally, refusal of a Breathalyzer test will result in a license suspension, but so will a test resulting in 0.08% or higher. If you are arrested for DUI following a sobriety checkpoint, contact Chicago DUI attorney Fred Dry as soon as possible.
There are some circumstances in which a sobriety checkpoint may not have been conducted properly. If the checkpoint was not clearly marked, if advance notice of the checkpoint was not provided to the public or if the checkpoint was not conducted in a way that is neutral and non-biased, the sobriety checkpoint may be rendered invalid. Additionally, if a sobriety checkpoint is used by law enforcement in order to search for evidence of another crime without a warrant, then the search will be invalid and any evidence found will be inadmissible in court. For more information, contact Chicago DUI attorney Fred Dry.