If an officer pulls you over, you must stop as soon as you can safely do so.

Stopping too slowly could give police the probable cause they need to search your car. Police may think you are hiding something or that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

To determine whether you stopped quickly enough, courts look at a number of factors: What were the weather conditions? Is traffic heavy? Are you on a highway without a shoulder? You might be justified in driving a little further to pull in somewhere like a mall where it is safer and less likely to obstruct traffic.

In  People v. Hill, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a police search of the defendant’s car. Defendant had missed several opportunities to pull over safely. The officer testified that based on his experience, drivers who delay in pulling over are often hiding contraband or retrieving a weapon. The court found that the delay along with the odor of cannabis and a cannabis bud in the backseat were enough to give the officer probable cause.

If you have been charged with a traffic or similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. Was the stop by police legal? If not, an attorney can petition the court to suppress any evidence resulting from that stop or search.

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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