You may enjoy hearing the song “The Long and Winding Road,” but you don’t exactly like driving on one. Because you had trouble staying in your lane, an officer pulled you over for Improper Lane Usage. Having smelled alcohol on your breath, you are now charged with DUI.
What exactly is Improper Lane Usage? Did it give the officer probable cause to stop you?
Whenever a road is divided into two or more clearly marked traffic lanes, you must drive entirely within one lane as nearly as practicable. Further, you may not move from your lane until you have first ascertained that you can do so safely. (See 625 ILCS 5/11-709(a)). If you have no obvious reason for straying outside your lane, an officer may stop you without considering the issue of practicability.
The law does not define whether a “lane” includes the dividing line. But a recent Illinois court found that an officer lacked probable cause to stop a driver whose tires touched, but did not cross, either the yellow center or white fog lines. Therefore, a car does not change lanes until it crosses the line. In any case, the court said, the road’s twists and turns provided an obvious reason for why the driver touched the lines. (See People v. Mueller).
If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Did the officer have probable cause to stop you? If not, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the evidence from your arrest, which in limited cases could result in dismissing the charges against you.
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.)