An officer stopped you for DUI and had you taking field sobriety tests. While doing so, a second officer searched your car without speaking to the first officer. The search uncovered some narcotics, and now you are charged with DUI and illegal possession.
Was the second officer’s search legal? The answer depends on specific circumstances.
An officer may rely on another officer’s information in the same investigation to establish probable cause. The test is objective: Would a man or woman of reasonable caution be justified at the time of the search in believing that the search was appropriate? A search could be illegal if the searching officer lacked independent probable cause and the officer who had probable cause did not direct the search.
In People v. Williams, an officer pulled the defendant over for an expired license plate. The officer then smelled marijuana. A second officer searched the car and found drugs. The second officer, however, had not smelled marijuana nor had the first officer asked the second officer to conduct the search. Therefore, the second officer could not rely on the first officer’s probable cause. As a result, evidence from the search was thrown out.
If you have been charged with DUI or a criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Did the officer have probable cause? If not, an attorney can bring a motion to suppress the evidence from the search, which at times may result in your case being dismissed.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)