CAN THE POLICE ASK FOR MY DRIVER’S LICENSE DURING A TRAFFIC STOP?

The answer is yes.

Recent U.S. and Illinois Supreme Court cases have held that a request for a driver’s license is reasonable regardless of the reason for the stop.

Before 2005, police could not change the nature of a traffic stop without articulating specific facts to support the change. For example, an officer could not stop you for running a red light and then bring in the canine unit to sniff your car for drugs without having a reasonable basis to believe you had drugs. After the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Illinois v Caballes, however, an officer can change the reason for the stop as long as the stop is not unduly prolonged. In other words, the officer cannot make you wait around for the dogs long after the officer has completed paperwork for the stop.

In People v Cummings, the question was whether the officer unduly prolonged a stop by asking for a driver’s license after the original reason for the stop had vanished. (In this case, the police were looking for a woman with an outstanding warrant and the driver turned out to be a man.) Following recent U.S. Supreme Court law, the Illinois Supreme Court held that such a request is permissible regardless of whether that request directly relates to the purpose for the stop. An interest in officer safety entitles the officer to know whom he is dealing with. The stop, however, must be lawfully made–the officer must still have probable cause to stop you.

If you are charged with DUI or another offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney may review your case for your best possible defense. If the police acted improperly, the attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence from any search. Even if this is not possible and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.


(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.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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