What to Expect During a Traffic Stop in Illinois

St. Charles traffic violation defense lawyer

Young drivers--or those who have never been stopped by the police--can be overwhelmed the first time they go through a traffic stop. A lucky few may go their whole lives without being stopped, but when a traffic violation occurs, there is a risk of being pulled over. When an officer pulls you over in traffic stop, he or she is expected to clearly instruct you on how to proceed. The officer will ask for your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Depending on the reason for the stop, an officer may also ask you to exit the vehicle for a field sobriety test or for a search of the car. In Illinois, a police officer is within his or her rights to ask for your name and for an explanation as to why a violation was committed. However, while you are required to show your license and registration, you do not have to answer any questions or consent to your vehicle to be searched without a good reason.

What a Driver Should Do

If you see blue and red flashing lights in your rear-view mirror, pull over immediately, turn on your hazard lights, and put the car in park. Once stopped, the police officer will approach your car, identify him or herself, and ask to see the required identification. The officer can also ask certain questions, such as “Do you know how fast you were going?” However, you are protected by the Fifth Amendment and do not have to answer that query. The Fifth Amendment states that everyone has the right to not incriminate themselves by admitting to a crime, including a traffic violation.

An officer may go a step further and ask you to exit your car and allow for a search of your vehicle. You must give consent to such a search, and unless an officer has probable cause (such as observing drugs or an open container of alcohol in the vehicle), the officer cannot make a search without your consent.

What Information Is Collected During a Traffic Stop?

Once the police officer has your driver’s license, he or she will then go back to his or her cruiser and process several pieces of information, including:

  • Your driving record;

  • Any previous traffic violations; and

  • Any possible warrants for your arrest.

Once the officer collects the proper information, he or she will issue a ticket - or give a verbal or written warning - and deliver it and a receipt with the amount due back to you along with your license. 

There are some cases in which you may not receive your license back, or you may even be arrested on the scene. In cases of reckless driving, an officer will not give back your license if it is your third offense. In cases that involve driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances, the officer may arrest you and take you into detainment.


When the ticket and receipt have been issued, the officer can then dismiss you, or you may ask if you are free to go before leaving the scene. You should never just leave without permission, because this could lead to possible “fleeing” charges.

Contact a St. Charles Traffic Violations Lawyer

A police officer must follow proper procedures during any traffic stop in Illinois. If you have been stopped for a traffic violation, and you feel your rights were violated by the police officer who pulled you over, you need to hire a lawyer from the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa. Our experienced attorneys will help you build a strong defense and avoid any negative outcomes to your driver's license, your driving record, and your freedom. To schedule a free consultation with our diligent Illinois traffic violations defense lawyers, call our office today at 630-232-1780.