Roadside Safety Checks & Roadblock DUI Arrests

During holiday weekends, many Police departments throughout McHenry County conduct roadside safety checks/roadblocks ostensibly to ensure that motorists are using safety belts, have secured children in appropriate child restraint seats, and maintain current insurance for their vehicle.

In many instances, these are multi-department operations, i.e., officers from a local Police Department and Deputies from the County Sheriff’s Police Department, officers from a local Police Department, and Troopers from the Illinois State Police, or even a combination of officers from all three police agencies, participate in and operate the roadblock.

In actuality, roadside safety checks/roadblocks are established to determine if motorists are committing the offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

Is A Roadside Safety Check A Violation Of My 4th Amendment Rights?

sobriety-checkpointThe United States Supreme Court has ruled that roadside safety checks are not an impermissible intrusion on a motorist’s 4th Amendment rights, and are necessary to prevent danger on our roads and highways. The United States Department of Transportation provides funding to each State, usually to the State’s Department of Transportation or equivalent Department.

After receiving funding from the United States Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) provides Roadside Safety Check (RSC) grant funding to the Illinois State Police. Upon application from individual Police Departments, the Illinois State Police distributes and provides the grant money to local Police Departments to operate a roadside safety check. Troopers from the Illinois State Police usually lead a roadside safety check operation.

Can You Beat A Roadside Safety Check DUI?

Many people believe that if they are stopped and arrested for DUI at a roadside safety check that they have no chance of challenging or beating their charge. Although difficult, a roadside safety check DUI arrest can be challenged. In order for a roadside safety check to pass constitutional muster, law enforcement officials must conduct the roadside safety check operation in accordance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards, Illinois State Police Directives, and Illinois Supreme Court decisions.

Some factors which must be evaluated to determine if law enforcement personnel conducted a proper roadside safety check operation:

  • Who decided to establish the roadside safety check?
  • Who selected the site for the roadside safety check?
  • Did law enforcement personnel prepare and implement a written policy or procedure to conduct the roadside safety check?
  • What was the selection criteria for stopping vehicles?
  • Did law enforcement personnel deviate from the written policy or procedure?
  • Did law enforcement personnel provide adequate warning to approaching
    motorists regarding the roadside safety check?
  • Did law enforcement issue a press release before the establishment of the
    roadside safety check advising the community of the impending roadblock?
  • Did law enforcement personnel video-record the entire roadside safety
    check operation?
  • Did law enforcement personnel set up the roadblock in such a manner to ensure the safety of motorists?
  • Did law enforcement personnel permit motorists to avoid the roadside safety check?

If you, or a friend, have been charged with the offense of DUI as a result of a roadside safety check operation, please contact David B. Franks of Franks & Rechenberg, P.C.

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