How to handle an encounter with the police, after being pulled over.
This will make you aware of your rights, so you will be empowered to use them. Many people think that "being honest" with the police officer will reduce or eliminate the reason they've been stopped. How many times have you heard of someone being let go without a citation for "being honest" though?
You've been pulled over, now what?1. If it's dark turn your dome light on. 2. Put both of your hands on the steering wheel, have any passengers have their hands where the officer can see them. 3. roll your window down enough to have a brief conversation and answer any questions, you do not need to roll your window all the way down so the officer can stick his head in to the vehicle and smell the passenger compartment, or get close enough to smell your breath. 4. Be polite when the officer approaches, he/she deals with legitimate issues of public safety all day, and also responds to calls that are a frustrating waste of time, be aware the officer is human too. 5. After the officer makes contact with you, and asks for your license and insurance information, find that documentation and if you're going to open a glove box tell the officer you're going to do so. (Keep in mind to keep your belt on until you need to remove it to access any compartments in your vehicle, there is no reason to possibly get a no seatbelt ticket) 6. If you want to remain silent at the scene and just exchange paperwork you can, you're not required to have a conversation with the officer.
The officer wants you (and potentially passengers) to step out of the vehicle.1. This does not mean that the entire car can be searched, only areas where the driver, or any passengers have immediate access to that could contain a weapon. 1. If the officer asks for permission to do a full search, whether you have contraband in the vehicle or not, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO, unless the officer has probable cause to believe contraband is in a closed compartment, or in an area that could not contain a weapon, the officer cannot search there. 2. If the officer finds contraband, you won't be able to "explain it away", nothing you say will help you at this point, it's best to remain silent, unless a passenger is going to admit any contraband is theirs.
The officer believes you are under the influence of alcohol.This is aimed for an individual with no prior DUI's on their record (including court supervision dispositions for a first DUI). The implications of a DUI are threefold; you have a potential vehicle impoundment case, a civil issue with your driver's license, and a criminal case from operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Books in my office cover these topics in 1500 or more pages, this is only a brief guide and should not be construed as covering all possible scenarios. 1. If you have consumed alcohol and know roughly what your BAC (Blood Alcohol) level would be, and then you can take a breathalyzer if you wish. Note: Some portable machines, and station mounted machines don't have mouth alcohol guards and can skew results. Additionally if you've recently imbibed alcohol, eaten food while drinking alcohol, or have vomited, or burped since drinking alcohol this can cause higher BAC readings than what you actually have. 1. Given this, it's typically advisable to avoid blowing especially if you know blowing above a .08 is likely. 2. Breathalyzer tests, and Sobriety Field Testing, is not made for you to "do well" and then be let go at the scene. If you know you are going to blow over, it's advisable not to do field sobriety tests as well, you're already going to be taken to jail, there's no reason to strengthen the State's case against you by performing badly on field sobriety tests. 3. When you're pulled over, you are already under arrest, from the point the officer's overhead lights come on. 4. When you're asked to step out of the vehicle and perform sobriety tests or take a breathalyzer test, in all but the most rare cases, you are going to be issued a DUI citation even if you don't blow over a .08 because the Illinois DUI statute lists 6 potential ways to be charged with a DUI, a .08 result is just one of the stronger ways the State can convict you, they can still issue the citation for a DUI if the officer feels you are unable to operate a motor vehicle safely even if you blow under a .08. 5. In most cases then it is advisable to not perform field sobriety tests, or to take a breathalyzer test. One possible thing to remember is if you think you're "borderline" at the scene of a .08, if you refuse all testing at the scene you are likely looking at a 20-60 minute window of sitting in the back of the patrol car before arrival at the local jail in the county you're in. If you feel you are capable of taking a breathalyzer and passing after this period of sobering up, you have the opportunity to blow at the station, and perform field sobriety tests. 6. Wait, won't I lose my license if I don't blow? Well if you do blow and it goes over a .08 then you are facing at least a 6 month suspension, if you don't blow you face at least a 12 month suspension. If your attorney files a Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension and you win that hearing then you can have your license suspension stopped and you can resume driving while your DUI case is still ongoing in the Illinois criminal justice system. Even if you lose that hearing, most first offenders are automatically enrolled and eligible for the BAIID interlock device, which after a hard 30 day suspension the individual can start driving again on their Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP).
The officer believes you are under the influence of cannabis, or other drugs.Typically an investigatory stop for driving under the influence of cannabis or other drugs is because of either erratic driving, coupled with either a scent of cannabis emanating from the vehicle, or from the driver's breath, or from cognitive problems such as difficulty locating the driver's license and insurance information, and from problems communicating with the officer at the scene. 1. Any DUI can cause a license suspension, while you likely will not be asked to take a breathalyzer test, the officer may ask you to submit to a blood or urine test. 2. Blood tests for cannabis, in most medical literature states that cannabis will only be in an individual's blood stream for around 48 hours after use. In situations such as this, you may be ok submitting to a blood test, any sooner and you risk having it show up in your system at which point you're looking at strengthening the State's case against you on the DUI criminal charge. For urine testing Cannabis and other drugs can show up in your system for a considerably longer period of time than they would otherwise. You should be aware that operating a motor vehicle in Illinois with any amount of Cannabis, or any other non-prescribed controlled substance is enough for a conviction. 3. As in alcohol related DUI stops, it is best to not perform any field sobriety tests in most situations, it's also best to not submit to blood or urine testing unless you fall in to one of the situations outlined above. If you don't strengthen the State's case by performing badly on field sobriety tests and in volunteering a sample of your bodies fluid, it's significantly harder to obtain a conviction. 4. By not submitting to the test you do potentially lose your license to suspension for 12 months, however first time offenders in most cases are eligible for a BAIID device which will allow the driver to still operate a motor vehicle after a 30 day hard suspension, and the installation of the device on your Monitoring Device Driving Permit. 5. Most important, by not submitting to field sobriety tests, and by not volunteering blood and urine samples, it gives your attorney the chance to find something wrong with the stop, or with the procedure used, to attempt to have your Judge lift the license suspension, even though your DUI case would still be ongoing.