Being convicted for driving under the influence can carry some extreme penalties in the State of Illinois. If you don’t have the right legal counsel on your side, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, and even be sentenced to a jail term. Fortunately, there are several very solid legal defenses that your defense attorney can use to help you fight a DUI charge in court.
A police officer cannot pull you over without reason. There must be proper evidence to suggest that you are driving while intoxicated; or are involved in some other criminal activity, before he pulls you over. If the reason for your apprehension and arrest is not legal, it is very likely that any DUI-related evidence collected at the scene will not be admissible in court.
As in the Cook County DUI case of People v. B that occurred in July of this year. The defendant had taken a drink of beer while standing in a gas station parking lot and was later charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving under the influence. Charges were then dismissed when it was determined that a parking lot does not fall under the legal definition of “public way” that is necessary for these convictions, and it turn, the police had no valid reason for his arrest.
Another way to beat a DUI charge is Illinois is to challenge the results of your field sobriety test. There are a number of field sobriety assessments generally conducted at the scene.
Your attorney, however, will argue that other conditions; including poor health, bad balance or a number of other valid reasons were why you were unable to pass the field sobriety test.
If you have been pulled you over, and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in the State of Illinois the arresting officer will be looking for physical signs like bloodshot eyes, or slurred speech. Your attorney may argue that these signs are not necessarily linked to the consumption of alcohol. There are medical conditions or medications that can cause many of the physical signs that are often associated with alcohol use.
If the officer at the scene administered a breathalyzer test, your attorney may also dispute the findings of the test. Breathalyzer tests are not 100% reliable, and their results can be successfully disputed in court. As was the case earlier this year in People v. C, where it was determined that the court erred in convicting the defendant of driving with an alcohol concentration of.08 or more because the State could not prove that the test was administered by a licensed operator; a foundational element necessary for the admission of the breath test results. The case was dismissed.
You can also fight a DUI charge by citing that the test was not calibrated properly, malfunctioned, or was poorly maintained, generating a false positive reading. That there was user error on the part of the officer. Even if you have recently used a mouthwash that contains alcohol, you could end up with an artificially inflated result. The attorney defending you on your DUI charge will point out to these factors in court as well.
Even the blood alcohol tests that you undergo to determine alcohol content, can be faulty. They may be administered by inexperienced personnel, or may have been conducted using faulty, malfunctioning equipment.
During an arrest, the police officer must read you your Miranda warnings: you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If the officer fails to read you these rights, your attorney may be able to get some of the evidence collected at the time of the arrest, excluded in court, thereby helping beat your DUI charges.
The character of the arresting officer can also be challenged, as was the case last year of People v. H where it was determined that the arresting officer had actually been making false DUI arrests in a scheme to collect extra overtime pay. Several lawsuits were brought against this officer and over 130 DUI driving charges were dismissed.
If you have been arrested for DUI reach out to us here at The Law Offices of Michael J. Brennan. As a former prosecutor turned defense attorney, Michael has years of experience helping people understand their legal rights and beating a DUI charge. Call us at (708) 460-9300 or fill out our contact form.
You can also read more about Michael’s experience as a DUI Lawyer in Orland Park and Chicago.