The laws surrounding civilians calling on suspected DUI drivers
"Restaurant worker calls police on alleged drunk driver
The following was taken from Arlington Heights police records April 13.
- A 26-year-old man of the 1200 block of Inverrary Lane, Palatine was arrested at 10:13 p.m., April 10, in a parking lot at 69 W. Rand Road and charged with DUI, aggravated DUI for not having a valid driver’s license and aggravated DUI for not having a valid insurance. An employee at Smash Burger called police when the man walked into the restaurant and appeared intoxicated before leaving and getting into his vehicle. His court date is May 29." TribLocal
Whether or not a stop is justified based on a "tip" of drunk driving depends mainly on the type of person who makes the call to authorities.
Where a citizen complaint is made face to face with the police or by the use of the 911 system, they are given enhanced reliability because that person is taking a risk by reporting such activities, which if false, would subject that complainant to possible arrest for disorderly conduct.
While reasonable grounds to stop an individual may be based on an anonymous informant's tip, there must be some indicia of reliability to justify the stop. Case law provides that certain factors may aid the courts in determining reliability, such as, independent corroboration by the police of the information provided by the caller and evidence that the information provided was specific enough to show that the caller had access to reliable information.
Informant's tips of drunk driving require less corroboration than tips related to matters presenting less imminent danger to the public.
The appellate court has held that information provided by a 911 caller justified a stop of a vehicle where the caller was not anonymous (e.g. smashburger employee above) and gave sufficient details about the suspect vehicle, including make, model, color and license plate; the 911 dispatcher reported the number of occupants in the vehicle; the time between the call and the stop was short; and the 911 operator informed the officers that the caller reported that the defendant had just left the caller's workplace and was extremely intoxicated.
Let's hope our Smashburger fan didn't take any of the tests that were offered him once he was pulled over!