Can YOUR "Suspicious" Driving be used to stop you for DUI or DWI?
Police have sometimes been known to pull people over for driving too slow,
or driving well below the posted speed limit, and subsequently gaining enough
information to charge that driver with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
(DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).
Many people would think that driving slow and cautiously would be a good thing,
but this was not the case in the People v. Rotkvich, 195 Ill.Dec. 424, 628
N.E. 2d 888 (1 Dist. 1993). In Mr. Rotkvich's case, his cautious and slow
driving led to a DUI arrest. The police officer in that case could not point
to any specific violation of the traffic laws so decided to pull the driver
over for driving too slow. After the stop, the officer gathered enough evidence
to make an arrest.
Thankfully for the driver, the Appellate Court found that slow driving by itself
is not illegal, especially in the absence of a posted speed limit. The court
found that the officer's decision to make the stop of the driver's vehicle
was without proper or "probable" cause. The driver was not impeding traffic
and there was not a minimum posted speed limit. The officer could not point
to any statute in the law books or the vehicle code that demonstrated the driver
was breaking the law.
The DUI was dismissed before it ever got to a jury trial because of protections
afforded by the Constitution.
It is also important that an attorney representing a driver charged with DUI
know that "suspicious" driving in general is not a valid reason for a stop.
In People v. Safiran, 171 Ill.Dec. 207, 593 N.E.2d 1027 (3 Dist. 1992)
the Court threw out the Defendant's Suspension altogether because the arresting
officer only stated that the vehicle was identified as "suspicious."
If you or someone you know gets charged with a DUI or a DWI, the first question
that should be asked by a good and competent local DUI attorney is did the
officer have "probable cause," or a good reason, to make the stop in the first
place? A serious charge like DUI or DWI must begin with a proper stop, and
your local DUI attorney will review the arrest from its beginning to end looking
for improper police action.
the State to Find a DUI Attorney in Your Area
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