In reviewing a DUI arrest, the first question is why did the police officer pull you over. It is an important question because a police officer cannot pull you over just to see why your driving at 2:00a.m. The officer has to witness a specific violation.
Most DUI stops occur because of “improper lane usage” or “speeding.” Both of these violations are easy to observe it you simply follow a vehicle long enough. For example, an officer may claim improper lane usage based upon as little as weaving in one’s own lane over a period of several blocks or even a further distance.
Although there are no specific distance limitations, for example, weaving two times in a block, etc., placing the police officer under oath and questioning him on how far he followed my client’s vehicle and the exact number of “infractions” witnessed is the only way to determine if there was enough reason to stop my client’s vehicle.
I recently handled a case in Cook County, 5th District, Bridgeview Courthouse where the officer claimed that my client’s vehicle almost struck a parked vehicle. The officer pulled my client over and my client was charged with DUI. At the Statutory Summary Suspension hearing, the officer testified that he followed my client for 3 miles, ran my client’s license plates on his in-car computer, (saw from his computer that my client had a prior arrest for DUI) and the only violation he saw in the 3 miles that he followed my client was that my client almost struck a parked vehicle when my client made a left turn. When I asked the officer what was the closest my client’s vehicle was to the parked vehicle, the arresting officer said 15 feet.
The Judge granted our Petition to Rescind the Statutory Summary Suspension. The officer’s claim that my client’s vehicle almost struck another vehicle was seen as a pretextual stop, (a made up reason to pull a vehicle over).
Although the Statutory Summary Suspension was rescinded (thrown out) the DUI tickets still remained and another court date was given. I ordered the transcript of the hearing so I had the exact questions I asked the officer and the exact answers he gave so I could use his answers against him on the DUI charges.
On the next court date, I presented the transcript to the State’s Attorney and they agreed to dismiss all of the charges.