The Chicago Police are employing so called “road-side safety checks” with increasing regularity. Road-side safety checks or DUI roadblocks are temporary stations set up by Chicago Police to search drivers in order to find drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. The Chicago Police also utilize this technique under the guise of a seat belt check. At a seat-belt check you do not have to roll down your window; the officer is supposed to merely look into your car and determine if you are wearing a seat-belt. It is not cause for him to search your car or ask you for your license and insurance. If you are wearing your seatbelt (which you always should), he is required to simply wave you on.
To meet the requirements of our Constitution, the Chicago Police are required by law to notify the public of the location and times of up-coming roadblocks. The law also requires that officers either stop every vehicle or use a specific pattern to stop certain cars on a public road to investigate if drivers are impaired. For example, they may pull over every fourth vehicle, but cannot just randomly pull over any car they choose. The police will use orange traffic cones to define checkpoint areas and place an officer, called the “point officer” at the beginning of the cones who will direct which cars to pull into the make-shift lane for a check.
If you find yourself at a road-side safety check, be sure to note the sequence of stops the officers make.
The law also requires that a DUI road-side safety check be as least intrusive as possible. This means no long lines and long delays. Take notes as to how long you waited in line. If you don’t have paper and pen, text notes to yourself. A good Chicago DUI attorney can help.
These checkpoints are often set up late at night or early in the morning. If the officer asks you to search your car, it’s usually because he doesn’t have the legal authority or constitutional grounds to search. You have every right to refuse him permission.
Remember that you also have the right to refuse all sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests-especially the very unreliable and inadmissable portable breath test (PBT). You don’t have to give the officer the evidence or probable cause he needs to arrest and charge you.
If you find yourself arrested for DUI after a road-side safety check, you need a good Chicago DUI lawyer.