You were driving home from a party when you noticed several cars up ahead and spotted a police checkpoint. You really didn’t want the hassle, so you turned your car around and drove away. Next thing you know, a police car came after you with sirens flashing. You were later arrested for DUI.

Can they do that?

A recent Illinois appellate case has held that if you turn away from a roadblock before you get to the scene without violating any traffic laws, the police will not have the reasonable, articulable suspicion of wrongdoing required to stop you. People v Timmsen.

The police can stop you if your behavior is otherwise suspicious or you are within the area of the roadblock. For example, police can stop someone who fails to stop or changes places with a passenger just before the roadblock. Police can also stop someone who parks within the roadblock area.

However, in the recent case, a driver spotted a roadblock up ahead and then made a legal U-turn to drive away. While the State argued that this behavior gave police the reasonable suspicion required to investigate, the court disagreed: “The mere act of avoiding a roadblock is generally not sufficient to constitute reasonable suspicion by itself, and must be coupled with other articulable facts.”

If you think you were wrongfully stopped because of a roadblock, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can evaluate your case to help present your best possible defense. If the police stop was improper, it may be possible to get the entire case against you dismissed.

Even if the stop was proper 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

(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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