Guide to Illinois DUI, Searches & Arrests

What if I’m asked about drinking?
You will have to make a judgment call about how to answer. First of all, don’t lie. Lying leads to complications if the officer decides to charge you with DUI, remember that everything you do or say is probably being recorded.

A. If you have not been drinking, tell the officer you have not been drinking.

B. If you have engaged in very light drinking and believe you are not intoxicated, inform the officer because being honest may help you later in your defense.

C. If you are intoxicated, politely inform the officer that your attorney has instructed you to never answer an officer’s questions without him or her present.

What if I’m asked to get out of my vehicle?
In Illinois an officer has the right to order you and any passengers out of the vehicle. Failing to comply may give the officer grounds to arrest you. Be polite and comply with the officer’s requests. From the time the officer approaches your car, you are being videotaped and recorded. Everything you do is being scrutinized for probable cause to arrest you. NEVER admit to drinking many drinks.

What if I’m asked to take a test?
There are two types of tests you could be asked to take. Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) cover a variety of physical tests to determine sobriety. In Illinois, there is no legal consequence for refusing FSTs. Since these tests are generally used to gather evidence and many factors can influence your performance, politely refusing to take FSTs can be the right decision in most cases.

Refusing to take breath tests, on the other hand, typically result in severe consequences. In Illinois your driver’s license will be automatically revoked for as long as a year (even if you are not convicted) and your refusal to submit to the breath test can be admitted as evidence against you.

If you believe you are sober and want to keep your license, submit to the breath test, and if given a choice, choose the more accurate blood test (less chance of a false positive).

If you believe you are not sober, DO NOT TAKE THE BREATH TEST. If you are underage or were involved in an accident with an injury, your best course of action maybe to refuse all testing.

You tested over the legal limit, does that mean you are guilty?
NO! Sobriety tests are merely evidence against you and not conclusive proof that you violated the law. There are many, many factors to consider when planning you defense, including the conduct of the police officers, the accuracy of the test and how it was administered as well as the timing of the test.

ALWAYS request an independent test of your sample. If the officer is not able to preserve your sample (which may be the case with a breath test) request that you be given a different test (like blood or urine) that can be preserved and independently tested.

What if the officer asks to search my vehicle?
Do not consent to anyone searching your vehicle! Do not hand the officer your keys or unlock or open doors for the officer, as this will imply permission. Generally speaking, an officer requests permission to search your vehicle as he looks for weapons, illegal drugs or evidence of drinking, all things that could put you in jail if any of them they are found. Politely state that your attorney has advised you not to consent to police searches.

What if the officer threatens to call for a search warrant or drug sniffing dogs?
Again, refuse to consent to the search. You will be no better off by consenting to the search, and many times officers use these types of threats to convince you to consent.

What if the officer wants to search my person?
Do not consent to police searching your person! Do not open your jacket or pull out your pockets as these action may imply you have given consent to be searched. Illinois law allows officers to pat an individual down (frisk) to make sure no weapons are present (for the safety of the officer).

‘Reasonable suspicion’ is the standard for officers justifying a pat down and can mean just about anything. Following the Guidelines for a traffic stop is the best way to avoid this type of search and gives you the best chance to challenge them in court.

What do I do if you’re arrested?
Remain cooperative and polite with the officer(s). Do not resist, struggle or argue with the officers ą keeping in mind that the entire encounter is probably being video taped. Refuse to answer any questions the officer(s) have and do not engage in ‘polite conversation’ with them at anytime. Do not speak to ANYONE about your case (police, friends, relatives, cell mates or staff) until you have met with your attorney (you never know who is listening).

Contact an attorney ASAP, either directly or through a close friend or relative. Request a hearing to determine bail at the earliest possible time.

What happens to my vehicle?
Unless the police allow a passenger to take possession of your vehicle, it will be searched, towed and impounded. During a legitimate arrest, the police are allowed to search your person and your vehicle, whether you have consented or not.

What if I’m not read my (Miranda) rights?
Charges against you will not be dismissed because you were not read your rights. In some cases a judge (not the police or prosecutor) will refuse to admit evidence against you that was obtained without notifying you of your rights.

The best course of action is to not answer any police questions or engage in communication about your arrest with anyone until you have spoken with your attorney. During the process of being arrested, processed and jailed there are eyes and ears everywhere.

What do I do now?
Find yourself a good attorney to handle your DUI. There is simply too much at risk to handle the situation yourself. Call The Chicago Law Group at 312-778-8000 and we will arrange for a FREE consultation about your DUI or traffic ticket case. On our website we have additional information to help you understand the charges against you, the potential outcomes and how you can fight the charges and protect your rights.

Do not wait!
Many states will automatically revoke your license unless you take steps to protect it. If your license has been revoked, we can help you get a provisional license that will allow you to work and take care of your family. The Chicago Law Group is here to help you stay on the road, keep your record clean and protect your rights.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained herein is provided for the purpose of providing basic information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The authors disclaim any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek professional legal advice before relying upon any of the information contained herein. Legal advice should be sought directly from a properly retained lawyer or attorney.