You really were doing nothing wrong. You didn’t run a stop sign, and you weren’t speeding. You’d had more than a couple drinks at the bar, but your driving was just fine. Then suddenly the police are behind you. During the stop, they found the cocaine under your seat. Or maybe you told them about those shots of tequila. Now you’re under arrest.

Can you keep the cocaine or your statement about the tequila out of evidence? The answer is maybe. It all depends on the facts.

If police do not have a legal basis to stop you, you may be able to suppress the evidence resulting from the stop. You may also be able to suppress evidence found or statements made after police detain you but before they read your rights. To do this, your attorney may bring a motion to suppress before the court.

To prevail, you must show that police acted without a warrant and that you were not doing anything unusual that would indicate criminal activity at the time of the stop. (See People v Lopez). A stop cannot be justified by evidence found after the fact. An officer must first have probable cause to arrest you although he or she can make a brief investigatory stop if there is a reasonable and articulable suspicion of wrongdoing. The officer may also stop you as part of their community caretaking duties–for example, to check if you are having a medical emergency.

If you win the motion, you may get at least some evidence from the stop thrown out. In rare circumstances, your entire case could be dismissed.

If you have been charged with DUI or another crime, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Can the state prove the police stop was legal? Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the court house 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.
This entry was posted in DUI evidence and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.