Police say that a 39-year-old Cook County man was under the influence of marijuana, heroin and the prescription antidepressant Xanax when he was involved in an automobile accident on the evening of Dec. 23 in Riverside. The crash took place on Harlem Avenue near 29th Street at approximately 6:30 p.m. The man is facing a raft of felony charges including driving under the influence of drugs and possession of heroin.
Police officers say that the man was behaving erratically and mumbling to himself when they arrived at the scene, but a breath test indicated that he had not consumed any alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Reports indicate that officers then checked the man’s pulse and exposed his eyes to light of varying intensity in order to determine whether or not he was under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs. According to officers, the man was taken into custody after admitting that he had taken drugs before driving.
A subsequent search of the man’s vehicle is said to have uncovered cannabis, heroin, Xanax and several items of drug paraphernalia. A Riverside Police Department representative said that the number of drugged driving arrests in the area has increased from just three in 2015 to about 30 in 2016.
The penalties for felony drug charges can be extremely severe, and experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge their clients to make no admissions and consent to no searches before consulting with a lawyer. The U.S. Constitution grants criminal suspects the right to remain silent and provides powerful protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, and charges may be dismissed when these rights have been violated. When confronted with facts like those in this case, defense attorneys may study police reports carefully to ensure that the individual involved was told that they could to speak to an attorney and had the right to not answer any questions before incriminating statements were made.