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Illegal Traffic Stops and Your Rights

 Posted on May 08, 2017 in Traffic Tickets

Chicago criminal defense attorneyAt some point or another, even the most prudent of Illinois drivers will likely be stopped by a law enforcement officer for an alleged traffic violation. While some of these encounters will resolve themselves in a matter of a few minutes and result in a warning or a ticket being issued, other traffic stops can result in lengthy delays and, in some cases, arrests. In certain situations, however, such stops may be or may become illegal.

Understanding Illegal Traffic Stops

“Illegal” is a general and non-descriptive term when used to refer to traffic stops. An illegal stop can be one that is not permitted by law from the outset, or it may refer to a stop that started just fine but, as the stop progressed, violated some statutory or constitutional provision. Using this general definition, an “illegal” traffic stop may include a stop that:

  • Is not supported by reasonable suspicion: Reasonable suspicion means that facts have given the officer more than a mere hunch that you committed, are committing, or are about to commit a crime. Reasonable suspicion can be established by the officer’s observations of your driving or by reliable tips provided by other motorists;
  • Is unlawfully prolonged. A law enforcement officer need not rush in writing you a ticket, but he or she may not keep you on the side of the road longer than is necessary to check your license and registration and write you a ticket for whatever traffic offense you committed. If the officer wishes to further detain you, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that you are involved in other criminal activity; or
  • Results in a violation of a constitutional or statutory right, such as a search of your vehicle that is not supported by probable cause or placing you under arrest without probable cause. Probable cause is the logical belief that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed, and is a more exacting standard than reasonable suspicion.

What If I Am Stopped Illegally?

If you believe your traffic stop violates the laws or constitutional protections afforded to you, there is little immediate recourse available to you. The law does not give you the right to resist arrest if you believe the arrest is illegal, and even if it did, doing so can often result in more trouble for you. Instead, comply with law enforcement officers and argue about the legality of the stop in court. You may be able to have important evidence excluded from any trial relating to the traffic stop, and compensation may also be available to you if your rights were blatantly violated.

Contact an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney at Luisi Legal Group as soon as possible following your traffic stop. Doing so will enable our team to investigate your case, determine an appropriate defense to any charges that may have arisen from the stop, and chart a course of action to protect your legal rights. Call 773-276-5541 for a free consultation at our offices today.




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