The Chicago DUI Law Blog - Find a Chicago DUI Attorney

Michael Ditka DUI Defenses, Probable Cause for Arrest?

Michael Ditka was arrested for a DUI in April after he failed a field sobriety test. The son of former Bears' legend faced felony DUI charges given his prior convictions.

But Ditka is saying that the DUI charges should be thrown out. Ditka is not arguing that he was not drunk at the time of arrest. Instead, he's just saying he should never have been arrested.

So, what is the Michael Ditka DUI defense?

Ditka claims that police had no business arresting him in the first place. At the time of arrest, Ditka was not driving, and he claims he was simply sitting in his car in a lot adjacent to his home. In fact, Ditka says that the keys weren't even in the car's ignition.

As a result, Ditka says that police lacked probable cause to question him about drunk driving and to make him take a field sobriety test.

First, you don't need to be actually driving to be arrested for a DUI. You simply need to be in "physical control" of a vehicle to be liable for drunk driving. As Ditka was sitting in the car and had the keys to the car (though not in the car's ignition), it's likely that Ditka had physical control of the car.

However, regardless of whether someone was driving or not, a police officer still needs probable cause to make an arrest. This means that police has to have reason to arrest someone.

For example, if Ditka had been driving erratically, police would have a reasonable belief that he was drunk and could stop him. And if Ditka was passed out in a parked car in the middle of some supermarket parking lot, police also may have probable cause to make an arrest.

The Michael Ditka DUI defenses include lack of probable cause to make the arrest. If in this case, the judge finds police had no reason to question a man who was parked outside his home, then Ditka could walk free.

Related Resources: