Illinois lawmakers and law enforcement officers have tried to crack down on drivers who drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol as a way to keep the roads safe for all Illinois drivers. Current Illinois law makes it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, or while under the influence of drugs. Eager police officers are on the lookout for driving behavior that will give them reasonable cause to suspect drunk driving. Does switching seats provide officers with reasonable suspicion of drunk driving?
Switching Seats Enough for Reasonable Suspicion of DUI?
If you pull over to the side of the road to switch seats with your passenger, do police officers have reasonable cause to make a traffic stop? Perhaps you start to feel a little sick and decide it is best to allow your passenger to drive. You may wonder if this may cause a police officer to make a traffic stop. By itself, switching seats may not be a reason for a police officer to have reasonable suspicion. If you break any traffic rules while pulling over to the side of the road, then the police officer may have reason to stop. Additionally, police officers may choose to stop as part of their role as caretakers. They can check to make sure you are okay. Once they check to see if you are okay, if they find any reasonable suspicion for drunk driving, then they can make an arrest. The seat switching in itself is not reasonable suspicion for drunk driving, but alcohol on your breath, slurred speech or glassy eyes may be.
Switching Seats Before a DUI Checkpoint
An exception is switching seats before a DUI checkpoint. If you are caught switching seats before a DUI checkpoint, this may provide officers with reasonable cause to suspect intoxication while driving. In the past, courts have ruled that switching seats before a DUI checkpoint is enough for reasonable cause to suspect DUI.
Traffic Stops Must Be Justified
In order to be legal, a police officer must have reasonable cause to make a traffic stop. Breaking a traffic law provides an officer with reasonable cause. Pulling over without breaking any laws to switch seats is not enough for reasonable suspicion, unless you do it before a DUI checkpoint. However, if a police officer pulls over to check on your well being, and he then finds reasonable cause to suspect intoxication, he may be able to justify an arrest for DUI.
Chicago DUI Defense Attorney
Any time you are arrested for DUI you should immediately contact a reputable Chicago DUI Defense Attorney. If you are arrested after pulling over to switch seats, an attorney may be able to help you present your case in the best possible way. Many times Chicago DUI Defense Lawyers are able to work with prosecutors to get you a better deal. With the intricacies of DUI law, it is important to have a DUI lawyer that has experience and knows the best way to handle the case. Call Dennis F. Dwyer, Chicago DUI Defense Lawyer, to discuss your DUI case today.