The Traffic Stop

Most DUI arrests, and many arrests for other offenses (drugs, guns, etc.), begin with a traffic stop. The traffic stop that leads to a DUI, narcotics, or weapons arrest in central Illinois can be for anything: speeding, rolling a stop sign, failure to yield, weaving/crossing a lane line, cell phone usage, or even a seat belt violation. Essentially, anything that gives the police officer reasonable suspicion to stop a driver can ultimately lead to an arrest for DUI.

The good news, from the perspective of our clients, is that police officers occasionally get it wrong when it comes to reasonable suspicion to stop a car. The other good news is that many police cars now have dashboard cameras and we can observe exactly what happened preceding the stop. What this means for our clients is that we may be able to win their case on a motion to suppress instead of a full-blown trial on the DUI or other criminal charge itself.

If you have ever been stopped for any traffic violation, then you know the routine. The officer walks up to your car, identifies himself, tells you why you were stopped, and asks for your license and proof of insurance. If you are being stopped for something simple like speeding, this may be the extent of your interaction with the police. However, if the officer has pulled you over for bad driving (e.g., weaving or a crash), then the officer may ask you further follow up questions. The officer may also ask you further questions if he/she thinks your eyes look blood shot, your breath smells like alcohol, or you are coming from a bar at closing time. You do not have to answer these questions. Additionally, our clients should be mindful that anytime they are having an interaction with law enforcement, there is a chance that it is being recorded; the best way to help your case is to always be respectful to the officer so that you do not look bad on any videos that may later be produced by the State in advance of trial. If you would like further tips on how to deal with a police officer in these situations, please visit our blog and read our post titled “What to do if you are stopped by the police in Central Illinois.”

Traffic stops can be nerve-racking, and being arrested for a DUI or other offense is scary. If you or someone you love has been arrested in Central Illinois, you need an experienced defense lawyer to help you. Please do not delay in calling our office, as frequently there is electronic discovery that may help our clients (911 calls, police-dispatch radio traffic, video recordings, etc.) which might be lost/destroyed if not requested promptly. Call our office and let one of our experienced criminal and traffic attorneys help you. The initial consultation is free.