Electronic Warrants and DUI


By: Kal Issa

In Illinois, under most circumstances, police are required to either obtain a warrant or a driver’s consent in order to obtain a blood sample in order to test for the presence and/or amount of alcohol or other illicit substances in the driver’ system.[1] When a motorist refuses to consent to such a blood draw and testing, police are required to obtain a search warrant, which generally may take some time depending on the day of the week, location of the investigation and time of day as they are required to appear before a judge and lay out the facts that leads them to believe a warrant should be obtained.


However, many counties have taken advantage of an Illinois law that allows law enforcement to request and obtain a search warrant through electronic means, thereby making the process more efficient. In lieu of personally appearing before a judge, an officer can make an electronic request for a search warrant from a judge through video and audio transmission.[2] This would allow the investigating officer to immediately obtain a blood sample from the suspected impaired driver for testing and analysis.


McHenry, Lake, Kane and Boone Counties have taken advantage of this streamlined process in DUI investigations.[3][4] Law enforcement in these counties believe that the ability to obtain an “e-warrant” is the ideal method to address possible repeat offenders who are aware of DUI laws and attempt to manipulate the system in order to avoid providing possible incriminatory evidence.


Once presented with the warrant, the driver must then submit to the requested testing. The failure to do so could lead to additional charges, including Obstructing a Peace Officer, Resisting a Peace Officer or Obstructing Justice. Additionally, police may very well use physical force against a driver in order to secure the blood sample.


[1] Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U.S. 141 (2013)


[2] 725 ILCS 5/108-4(c)


[3] https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-dui-no-refusal-20180412-story.html

[4] https://www.mystateline.com/news/no-refusal-to-blood-alcohol-test-allowed-thanks-to-new-electronic-warrant/1131695071

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