WHEN DOES A TRAFFIC STOP BECOME AN ARREST?

You were driving your car when police stopped you for a broken taillight. The officer started out friendly enough but then began to suspect you of some type of wrongdoing. Now the officer has asked you to get out of your car.

Has your stop become an arrest? The timing of this question can affect whether your attorney has grounds to petition the court to throw out the evidence against you.

When your stop became an arrest or seizure depends on whether you as a reasonable person would feel free to leave. Courts look at a variety of factors to determine when a seizure has occurred including: (1) the threatening presence of multiple officers, (2) the display of a weapon by an officer, (3) some physical touching of the person, and (4) the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance might be compelled. The court can also look at other types of coercive police behavior.

In People v Lee, the court found that the officer’s yelling “Hey, no talking!” to defendants was enough to find an arrest had occurred. The court said a reasonable person would not feel free to leave if he was not even allowed to talk to his friend. As a result, the stop was no longer consensual.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. Perhaps the evidence against you seized before you were under arrest. Even if the police acted legally 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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