Illinois Criminal Defense Blog

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Irony (Almost) of 4th of July "No-Refusal" DUI Checkpoints

From California to Pennsylvania, thousands of 4th of July revelers were stopped at DUI checkpoints in an effort to prevent drunk driving injuries and fatalities.

We’ve come to expect things like this, particularly on big holidays such as the 4th of July – but some states took things a bit farther.

“No-Refusal” DUI Checkpoints on 4th of July

Ironically enough, on the day the country celebrated freedom from British rule and the oppression that went with it, some jurisdictions announced that they’d be setting up “no-refusal” DUI checkpoints.

That means if drivers refused a Breathalyzer test at a DUI checkpoint, the police would take a blood sample – even without consent and with force if necessary.

Fortunately, Chicago didn’t do that. But plenty of other places throughout Florida, Texas, Arizona and California did.

Are “No-Refusal” DUI Checkpoints a Violation of Your Rights?

Technically, these DUI checkpoints aren’t a violation of your rights… if the proper procedures are followed. All states, including Illinois, recognize your right to refuse a Breathalyzer test. If you refuse, the penalties vary; you might lose your driving privileges or spend the night in jail. Every state is different.

However, these DUI checkpoints give you the choice: take the Breathalyzer or police will perform an on-the-spot blood test. Sounds illegal, doesn’t it? At the very least, it sounds unconstitutional, right?

Here’s how they get away with it. Police have a judge on-scene who will sign a warrant that allows them to take your blood. With a warrant, it’s perfectly legal.

Why Some Jurisdictions Use “No-Refusal” DUI Checkpoints

The bottom line is that a conviction is far more likely when a blood sample is entered into a DUI case. While we don’t have to worry about these DUI checkpoints here (for now, at least), you might still need help from a Chicago DUI lawyer who knows how to fight for your Constitutional rights in court.

If your Breathalyzer or blood samples were taken illegally, you weren’t afforded the process you’re entitled to, or police somehow violated your rights, we’ll bring those issues to light to help prepare the best possible defense for you.


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