When you think about police officers getting a warrant, you may recall scenes from movies and television where officers must appear in court, or, at the very least, get a judge on the phone. The officer talks to the judge about probable cause, and the judge issues a warrant so the officer can make the next move in the investigation.

In a world where we can sign documents electronically and conduct business from opposite sides of the globe, the warrant process was bound to change. For officers investigating DUIs and other offenses, the process has changed in some Illinois counties.

Here’s what you should know about e-warrants in Illinois.

A race against time

Officers know that from the time they pull you over for a suspected drunk driving until the time they are able to get a blood sample, the evidence for their case is diminishing. In some cases, during the time an officer would wait for a warrant, a suspect’s blood alcohol content (BAC) could drop significantly.

On the other hand, an e-warrant is almost instant. The information from the police officer goes to a judge electronically from the traffic stop, and the judge can approve it quickly, allowing officers to proceed to the next step.

Not just for DUIs

While some counties allow the e-warrant process for DUI stops, some counties are more limited. Some attorneys argue that using e-warrants for DUI cases is simply to intimidate motorists into proceeding with a blood test if they refuse the breathalyzer. In some counties, e-warrants are only for situations where there is a death or serious injury.

It can be frightening when an officer starts working on getting an e-warrant. Suddenly, the process is moving faster than you imagined. Remember, even though the officer is moving quickly, you still have the right to speak to an attorney.

Asking to talk to an attorney as early as possible can be critical to having a good defense. You should speak with a knowledgeable professional about your charges and how you should proceed with your situation.