'No-refusal' DUI checkpoint in place tonight

'No-refusal' DUI checkpoint in place tonight

URBANA – Champaign County law enforcement officials are going to be tightening the screws on potential drunken drivers Friday night.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said motorists stopped in a roadside safety check in Urbana who refuse to submit to chemical testing will be given an offer they can't refuse:

A search warrant will be laid on them, forcing them to submit to testing, or they face a felony obstruction of justice charge.

"The goal is to get people to take the breathalyzer test. Ideally, they would agree to take the breathalyzer without the forced blood draw," she said.

Roadside safety checks are nothing new in Champaign County, but the "no-refusal" check is.

"We had discussed doing it for Unofficial St. Patrick's Day, but the law enforcement people said their resources would be stretched because they would be concentrating on campus," Rietz said. Illinois State Police "had already planned to do this roadblock this weekend."

The roadblock starts at 11 p.m. and runs to 4 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location. The difference between other safety checks done by police and this one is that prosecutors and a judge will be standing by.

"We have search warrants drafted that are basically fill-in-the blank," Rietz said.

The officer who suspects a driver to be under the influence will have to supply the prosecutor with details to support probable cause for the search warrant, such as what field tests were given and how the person reacted. The prosecutor then presents that to a judge for the warrant.

Four of Rietz's younger assistants and Judge Rich Klaus, the baby of the Champaign County bench both in age and seniority, volunteered for the night-owl assignment.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark, a veteran of previous safety checks, said there probably won't be a huge need for their services.

"We don't get a lot from roadblocks. About 10 will get pulled out. We usually get a couple of arrests. Some will agree (to be tested) anyway," she said.

"If they don't agree, they're given an admonition and will be taken to Carle" Foundation Hospital, Clark said.

Besides Illinois State troopers, the Champaign County sheriff's office and the Urbana police department will have officers checking drivers.

State police Sgt. Bill Emery said "no-refusal" checks have been going on for years.

"This is something we've done in many different counties before, and it has worked out extremely well," he said.

Presiding Judge Tom Difanis said the enforcement tactic has been tested and approved by higher courts.

"I just had a hearing two weeks ago on the constitutionality of one of the last safety checks ISP put on. It is a well-defined procedure that passes constitutional muster and ISP knows how to do it correctly," Difanis said.

"There are cases on point that talk about things that have to be done. It has to be a program that has been established, is in writing, and instituted by someone in a decision-making position," he said.

Difanis said in Illinois, the Department of Transportation provides the definition of the checks and the funding for them while state police decide how the money is parceled out. They then coordinate with local agencies and set up the safety checks.

ISP also has to publish in advance that they are going to conduct the safety checks, he said.

Emery routinely notifies the media of the checks. But because police are not required to say where the checks will be, other than which county, many media outlets, including The News-Gazette, don't bother to publicize events in advance.

Testing for DUI

If you refuse chemical testing, the Illinois secretary of state can suspend your license for:

— A minimum of 12 months for a first offender.

— A minimum of three years for a repeat offender.

If you submit to testing and fail:

— A minimum of six months for a first offender.

— A minimum of a year for a repeat offender.

Under 21 with any amount of alcohol under 0.08 percent; also known as zero tolerance:

— A minimum of three months.

For commercial license holders:

— A minimum of 12 months for a first offender.

— Lifetime for a repeat offender.

Source: Warning to Motorists from Illinois Secretary of State

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doobedoobedoo wrote on March 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

This is fantastic. Clearly our Justice system is designed to use rubber stamp warrants. There is absolutely nothing shady about the judges working in tandem with the police, as opposed to, you know, doing their job and evaluating each situation independently.

Do you feel safer, citizen?

bigsiss wrote on March 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

To respond to the comment before mine, yes I do feel safer. Anything to get these drunk idiots off the road. You have no idea what a drunk driver can do to you and your family and your friends. It is a devistating experience to loose a loved one to a moron that couldn't control their drinking.

EdRyan wrote on March 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

The point of the comment was that the judiciary are in this instance clearly acting in a law enforcement capacity. They are supposed to be independent of the prosecutors and the police. This is yet another step in the slide to a police state.

the-uniform wrote on March 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

No, they are still acting separately. Its the same way an officer would go about to get a warrant for any other crime. Only difference is that instead of the SA office having to wake a judge up for them to review the facts of the matter, the judge will be standing right there to hear the officers reasoning for why the warrant should be issued. If the judge feels the officer's reason for wanting the warrant are valid they will sign it; if not they wont sign off on it.

sameeker wrote on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

I don't see them keeping a judge on standby in case someone steals from me or commits a crime against an ordinary citizen. However, doing such things as catching real criminals does not bring in money so that is not a priority.

ronaldo wrote on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

If your house was being broken into every night, the police would certainly provide you that added protection.

doobedoobedoo wrote on March 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

Anything? OK. Everyone turn your drivers licenses in. It is too dangerous to have people driving because someone might drive drunk. Or, lets just put those breathlyzer things in everyone's car, at their own cost. Or lets just start arresting people who are in bars (Texas has done this), after all, if they are drinking, they might drive. We should probably take away all liquor licenses at restaurants too, people having a beer with dinner might drive home afterward. After all, anything goes in stopping drunk drivers, right?

The police are supposed to have a reason to stop you (probable cause or whatever the requirements for a Terry stop are). Simply driving down the wrong road at night is insufficient justification for harassing law abiding citizens.

bigsis01 wrote on March 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

Yes, I'm quite aware of how a drunk driver can destroy a family... One destroyed mine except for the fact that the wrong person is blamed for the driving. And because of the police "investigation" that did not bother collecting key pieces of evidence, the actual driver is still out there driving, drinking, and living life like nothing happened. This is a trap to help the state make easy bank. They slap a DUI on you, they're easily going to make $5,000.00 or more in fines and if that person tries to get their license back. Lots of people drink and handle themselves quite responsibly. I understand and know of stupid people that drink too much and can't distinguish when not to drive, but there are also just as many totally sober idots that shouldn't be driving either. Yes, we enjoy having a drink or two when we go out for dinner, and for this reason we don't travel much to Champaign/Urbana to enjoy a nice evening out. My life may have been horribly disrupted and I lost my best friend and brother, but I still live life. Unfortunately, drinking a few or too many, some innocent imbibers will be trapped by this. And yes, I know how a DUI can destroy one's personal/professional life as well. No one is perfect, so don't assume anyone who drinks is a horrible person in life.

bigsiss wrote on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

Not assuming anything, never said people who drink are horrible now did I. But people who drink and drive are.........point blank horrible. End of story!! You run the risk of killing someone or yourself when you drink and drive. Yes there are people that shoudn't be driving even when sober but adding alcohol to the mix just makes it worse.

EdRyan wrote on March 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

Police state. Soon we'll need internal passports and travel permits.

anon_citizen wrote on March 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

We already have internal passports. It's called your driver's license. Every officer in every state can bring up your details based on your license from any other state. Notice your address is on you license, and by law you must update that with DMV. What does your address have to do with your ability to drive? Nothing. In many countries your address is not on your driver's license. Why not? Because it has nothing to do with driving, and because they have internal passports. In the US, it's on the driver's license because that *is* your internal passport.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

It is interesting that recent accidents involving drinking and driving drew much public outrage; but this action is viewed differently. Perhaps the police should provide an IQ test along with a breath test? People know that drinking impairs judgement. Many of us have made it home after drinking; and said to ourselves: "I will never do that again." The smart ones don't do it again.

sameeker wrote on March 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

As if the police will tell the truth when asking for one of those "fill in the blank" warrants. How about giving the people the right to stop and frisk police and judges? I have seen cops lie all the time to rake in revenue. I also agree with the posters that the judges are not being neutral like they are supposed to be. Of course, we all know that they have never been. I also would like to know why it is that when you get stopped for even a minor traffic violation, the cop wants to know where you have been and where you are going. Do we get to ask them those questions? Several months ago, I predicted that we will see serious civil unrest and uprisings in three years. I think I need to shorten that time line. When they have ruined America, the ultra wealthy and those in authority will look at each other and ask "Why?".

ronaldo wrote on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

If you weren't planning on boozing it up and hopping behind the wheel tonight, then you have absolutley nothing to worry about, do you? Last time I checked no one has the right to drive drunk.

And exactly how are the judges not acting independent of the police? The article clearly states,

"The officer who suspects a driver to be under the influence will have to supply the prosecutor with details to support probable cause for the search warrant, such as what field tests were given and how the person reacted. The prosecutor then presents that to a judge for the warrant."

The way it usually works is that if a police needs a warrant to force a sobriety test, it could take hours and by then the offenders blood/alcohol level could have easily and realistically fallen way below the minimum level, but that in no way makes them any less guilty of the crime - it only prevents them from being found guilty because of a stall tactic in refusing to submit. It sounds like the judges will be either on-site or on-call to issue them immediately to prevent this delay from, in essence, tampering with the evidence.

The article also goes on to say, " 'I just had a hearing two weeks ago on the constitutionality of one of the last safety checks ISP put on. It is a well-defined procedure that passes constitutional muster and ISP knows how to do it correctly,' Difanis said."

So apparently the court system is confident enough that this procedure is fully constitutional and will therefore be upheld in the courts. If you decide to challenge this, let us all know how it goes for ya.

doobedoobedoo wrote on March 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm

The same courts that affirmed cases Plessy v. Ferguson or Kelo v. New London? If our highest court can't be trusted to get cases regarding civil liberties correct, why should we trust lower courts in what is among the most corrupt, untrustworthy states in the union?

ronaldo wrote on March 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Neither of these cases are precedent or in any way relevant to the constitutionality of DUI stops, and if you had to go back 115 years to get a second decision that you disagreed with, I'd say you're pretty safe.

And no, they're not the same courts.

doobedoobedoo wrote on March 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm

No, but they are perfectly relevant to the ability of the courts to get simple decisions correct. I only went with Plessy because I didn't have to look anything up to make my point. There are plenty of cases where the courts ignorance of our rights is evident (both local and federal), I just don't have time to research them.

That's right, the SCOTUS is (allegedly) comprised of some of the most intelligent, well read, and well thought of jurists of our day (and they can't always be bothered to read the Constitution). Our local and state courts are full of career politicians or appointed cronies who did not come to a seat on the bench by the merit of their work. If we can't even expect the SCOTUS to get things right, we don't have a snowball's chance in hell with the judges in this corrupt state.

Utowner wrote on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

This is the kind of stuff that starts revolutions. The police state is growing as we sit back and all move aside in the name of safety. Bad things happen - no amount of gestapo type tactics will ever prevent bad things from happening. Be afraid if someone tells you they are doing something for your own protection.

UIUCHoopFan wrote on March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

It's pretty simple....don't drink before you get behind the wheel. If you haven't done anything wrong you don't have anything to worry about.

You can't fix stupid...but you can arrest it for driving while intoxicated.

Pardon Me wrote on March 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Exactly!

25builder wrote on March 11, 2011 at 11:03 am

The only thing that annoys me about this, is that I have been to local drinking establishments and have personally witnessed many of our men and women in blue drink entirely too much and get in their personal vehicles and drive home. I have actually discussed this with one of the police officers in the bar and he pulled out his badge and told me "This is what we call a get out of jail free card." I understand the brotherhood of taking care of your own. But, the double standard of us vs. them when it comes to peoples lives is unexceptable!

AerieDweller wrote on March 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Yeah... that badge hellped Lisa Staples.... Remember her? She was arrested, prosecuted, and convicted for DUI, even though she was a police officer at the time.

Sloeber wrote on March 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Lisa Staples would still be employed as a CPD officer if it was only a DUI - as there already CPD officers with a DUI on the force.

First, Lisa wasn't arrested by a local officer. This happened in the country, the rookie cop realized the pickle he was in, and called State.

Second, instead of submit to breathalyzer, Lisa refused and had her blood drawn. When they did this, they found elevated levels of THC in her blood (marijuana). Lisa lost her job because she refused to "blow" and later was found to have illegal drugs in her system - NOT from her DUI.

Seperately -

What part of "independent" means "works together?" Seems like an oxymoron to me - just like the judge working together with cops onsite.There is nothing independent about working side-by-side.

militantlibertarian wrote on March 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

this is further proof our governments dont give a damn about our fourth or fifth amendment rights, these goons are using the constitution right before our eyes as toliet paper and most of you are fine with letting it happen. welcome to nazi germany, hope you enjoy your time with the gestapo, sheep.

militantlibertarian wrote on March 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

i esp like the fact they admit roadblocks dont do any good netting only a few arrests, right there disproves its keeping the community safer so based on that info these roadblocks are not even necessary, i always thought the different branches of government should act independently but have checks and balaces, apparently not in this case since judicial branch is in bed with the law enforcement agencies.

ronaldo wrote on March 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Exactly which branch of government is the police?

militantlibertarian wrote on March 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Thats quite simple, it would be executive branch, which enforces the laws made by the legislative and interpreted by the judicial branch. Since this roadblock is a combo of the State Police and City Police it is Under orders of the Governor and Mayor. The Prosecutors and Judges issuing these fill the blank warrants are part of the Judicial Branch, so i hope that clears that up. I just dont like the fact that Judges and Prosecutors are sitting on the roadside issuing blanket warrants that normally never would be given. These police can just "suspect" an infraction with really probable cause and they can instantaneously procure a warrant. even the police themselves claimed these roadblocks catch very few people so there is really no reason to be doing them or trampling on our rights.

mhays96 wrote on March 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

lisa staples from centennial high school?
tell her hello from me.....lol

Stephen Perkins wrote on March 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Anyone ever heard "Call a Cab" or arrange a "Designated Driver"?

Hyp-hypop-hypop-pocrisy wrote on March 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Ahahahaha. THIS IS SO ILLEGAL. Invasion of privacy without just cause, and punishment for those who refuse. This is like the police saying, "Well we know someone in this county is probably a thief, so we're going to search your house for stolen goods. If you refuse, you will be charged for felony obstruction of justice. . ."

And to anyone who is okay with this, consider Ben Franklin's quote: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

yomomma wrote on March 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Good luck to the fascist pigs trying to "force" blood out of me, because I'll break their damned arm. They think they're phlebotomists, now?

Charles Chapin wrote on March 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm

This is designed to invade the rights to the accused -- not the convicted. I can't believe the courts find this a permissible search.