UPDATED DECEMBER 17, 2019: The Illinois Supreme Court overturned the decision below on December 5, 2019. Please see our post regarding this decision at ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS STATUTE REQUIRING A DRIVER TO SUBMIT TO BLOOD, BREATH AND BODILY FLUID TESTING.
An Illinois Appellate Court recently struck down part of the Illinois statute on alcohol testing. Section 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(c) required that a driver submit to blood, breath or bodily fluid testing for drugs or alcohol where the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver caused death or personal injury while driving under the influence.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizens the right to be free from warrantless searches with certain exceptions. One such exception is known as exigent circumstances, such as where police reasonably believe evidence will disappear if they wait to get a warrant.
In People v Eubanks, the defendant caused a fatal accident. An officer asked defendant to submit to blood tests, which defendant refused. The officer then took defendant to a hospital where his blood was forcibly drawn. He was further threatened with a catheter if he did not submit a urine sample. The tests revealed cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine metabolite.
The state argued that Illinois law required the driver to submit to such tests, and that exigent circumstances always existed under these circumstances. The court disagreed. Instead, the court held that exigent circumstances must be determined on a case by case basis and not as a general rule. The officer arrested the defendant at midnight, then waited nearly three hours for instructions from the accident unit before taking defendant to the hospital. During that interval, the officer could have obtained a warrant.
As a result, the defendant’s conviction for first degree murder was reversed, and the case was sent back to the lower court for a new trial.
If you have been charged with DUI or similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Perhaps the police lacked probable cause to stop you or any evidence against you was improperly seized. Even if the police acted legally 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 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.)