DUI Strip Search Challenged by Alleged Drunk Driver

When a person is stopped and arrested on DUI charges, he or she may be scared and confused as to what is going to happen next. A DUI charge and arrest may result in a ride in the back of the police vehicle and being booked and fingerprinted into jail. Aside from the penalties and consequences that DUI charges may bring after a DUI conviction, the emotional toll on a drunk driver may impact his or her life for a long time after the initial arrest. The situation can become even worse when police have failed to follow proper criminal procedural rules in the initial arrest, ultimately violating the driver’s civil rights.

An Illinois woman likely knows all too well the terrifying ordeal that an alleged drunk driver faces when an arrest and booking deviates from the law. According to the Chicago Tribune, 33-year-old Dana Holmes of Coal City, Illinois, was driving back home from a wedding in May when she was stopped by the police for speeding. Ms. Holmes failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for violating DUI laws. At the time of the arrest, her blood-alcohol level registered almost three times the legal limit.

When police officers brought Ms. Holmes to the LaSalle County jail, things took a turn for the worse. Ms. Holmes alleges that police stripped-searched her and provided her only with blankets and a padded suit, despite the fact that she was not armed and that she was cooperative. In surveillance videos taken from the evening that Ms. Holmes was brought to the jail, she can be seen being booked and fingerprinted wearing only blankets. Police officers are also seen holding up the blanket around her shoulders because she appears to be too intoxicated to hold it around herself. Ms. Holmes and her attorney are now seeking to conference with LaSalle County’s attorney to determine whether the officers committed official misconduct.

Illinois Law

Strip searches are invasive searches that require the arrested person to remove or arrange his or her clothing so that his or her genitals, anus, breasts, buttocks or undergarments may be inspected. It is important for drivers to note that a strip search is generally not allowed in the case of a DUI, or in any traffic, regulatory, or misdemeanor offense. Under 725 ILCS 5/103-1, a strip search is only allowed in such cases when the police reasonably believe that the arrested person is concealing a weapon or a controlled substance. Therefore, unless the police reasonably believe that a drunk driver is concealing a weapon or drugs, a strip search of the driver is a violation of his or her rights.

There are numerous important rules and regulations when it comes to an arrest and booking into jail. If a defendant’s procedural rights are violated, the violation needs to be addressed by an experienced attorney. If you have been charged with violating Illinois criminal laws, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.

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