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Can an Officer Arrest You for DUI Based on an Anonymous Tip?

Posted on in DUI Defense

DUI, DuPage County  DUI defense attorney, DUI arrest, anonymous tip, officer arrestGood citizens are everywhere. Their behaviors mean no harm but to only help someone in need or to assist their community. However, occasionally a do-gooder reads a situation wrong. For instance, a person may report a home break-in. But what is actually occurring is someone who is locked out of their home and is trying to find a window accidentally left unlocked.

Anonymous tips from these individuals pour into police stations regularly, and a significant portion of these tips come from drivers or passengers on the roadway who report someone who appears to be DUI.

What Do Officers Do With This Information?

If a tipster calls in to report an emergency to 9-1-1, such as a drunk driver on the road, the operator will immediately begin to obtain as much information as possible. Even if the person wishes to remain anonymous, 9-1-1 has a record of the call and can call the number back to obtain additional information if necessary. However, this information alone is enough to stop someone who matches the given description, to ask questions, and to thereby gather more evidence.

Can an Officer Make an Arrest?

According to the Fourth Amendment, an officer must have probable cause before making an arrest—cops must have evidence of reasonable suspicion that a crime occurred. The best source of proof is an officer or an informant witnessing the suspicious behavior first-hand. Anonymous tips alone are not readily usable as the credibility of the source is lost. What if this person has a personal vendetta against the suspect and is making a false accusation, however? The United States Supreme Court ruled that an anonymous tip can substantiate probable cause.

Challenge the Information

If an officer pulls you over, for any reason, you should remain cooperative, but do not strike up a conversation. If the stop is due to an anonymous tip, there may be no additional evidence. Moreover, if your behavior does not indicate any issues, you may be free to go. If, however, the officer is able to gather enough evidence to create probable cause, your next course of action should be to contact an attorney.

The punishments for being convicted of a DUI are harsh and long-lasting. If you would like to discuss your arrest with a DuPage County, IL DUI defense attorney, McMahon Law Offices is available to help. We offer a free and confidential consultation of your case to those who call us today at 630-953-4400.




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