When facing criminal charges for driving under the influence, it is helpful to understand strategies that criminal defense lawyers use to avoid conviction. A variety of methods are used to beat a DUI charge in order to prevent a stain on your permanent record, statutory summary suspension of your driver's license, costly fees, and jail time. Below is an overview of common strategies. If you are being charged with a DUI offense, you may ask a potential Illinois DUI attorney if one of the following methods would be a strong defense for your case.
Common Methods Used to Beat a DUI
Typical strategies involve finding errors in your arrest process. Perhaps there is evidence of police misconduct. Perhaps an error was made in your chemical testing. Any mistake from the time the arresting police officer pulled you over to the point you are sitting in a jail cell could be grounds for dismissal.
Invalid Cause to Pull You Over
In order to pull you over for a DUI traffic stop, a police officer must have evidence to support reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Traffic violations that can be used as evidence of intoxicated driving include speeding, erratic driving, improper lane change, or failure to stop at a red light or stop sign. If no evidence of impaired driving was demonstrated, law enforcement does not have a valid basis for the traffic stop. Without reasonable suspicion, the DUI stop is unlawful. If the DUI stop was unlawful, then the arrest should have never been made.
This can be sometimes complicated to prove. A review of the police report and any arrest videos can lead to further understanding of these situations. If no evidence of impaired driving was recorded (either on dashcam video, body cam video, or from police testimony) then the charges may be challenged as an illegal stop. A criminal defense attorney will be able to determine if this method is a good fit for your case. They can assist in reviewing evidence and fighting the charges.
Defective Breathalyzer Machines
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is used to determine the blood alcohol level in a person's system. In the state of Illinois, the legal limit of BAC to operate a motor vehicle is 0.08. A person driving a vehicle with a BAC over 0.08 may be charged with a DUI. One of the most common methods to test BAC is a breathalyzer machine. The person in question blows into the breath test device that estimates the level of blood alcohol content by measuring breath alcohol content. Common reasons for unreliable results from breath testing include:
- Residual Mouth Alcohol caused by substances such as mouth wash, cough syrup, chewing gum, breath spray, vomit, digestive gases, and asthma spray
- High exposure to acetone
- Medical conditions like diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux, or certain diets
- Body weight, gender, breathing patterns, body temperature, and red blood cell ratio
- Faulty breath testing device results from lack of proper maintenance, calibration, breath test machine malfunctions, or improper use by breath test operators
In order for a breathalyzer test to be accurate, the test must be administered 100% correctly on an average-sized, healthy individual. The sheer amount of variables when it comes to breathalyzer tests can often lead to false positives. All of these reasons can help you in beating DUI charges.
In the state of Illinois, the consequences for refusing a chemical test are more severe than failing one if you are convicted of a DUI. Other chemical testing includes blood testing and urine testing. If you submitted to a breathalyzer test and were charged with a DUI because of the results, contact an attorney to learn if challenging the results is the right strategy for your defense.
Incorrect Implementation of Field Sobriety Tests
Impaired behavior and body movement can be used to determine if someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When suspected of drunk driving, law enforcement may administer a series of tests to observe a person's motor skills. If a person fails to show proper bodily function, the officer may see it as a sign of intoxication and proceed with an arrest. As with breathalyzer tests, many factors can lead to inaccurate results, including:
- Change in behavior or physical response due to increased levels of anxiety
- Medical conditions like epilepsy, vertigo, head trauma, back injuries, or inner ear conditions
- Change in behavior or physical response due to caffeine or fatigue
- Improper administration by the arresting officer
- Police misconduct
- Restrictive clothing or oversized footwear
- Bad weather conditions
- Physical disabilities
- Body weight
Each of these factors can affect a person's ability to perform during a field sobriety test and may lead to poor results and therefore an arrest. When speaking to a defense lawyer, inform them of any conditions that could have negatively affected your field sobriety test results. An attorney will be able to determine if challenging the results is the best defense for your DUI offense.
If Your Miranda Rights Were Not Read During the Arrest
During an arrest, you have the right to remain silent and to speak with an attorney. These rights are intended to protect a person from incriminating themself and are known as Miranda Rights. In the state of Illinois, an arresting officer is required to remind you of these rights before asking any questions that could incriminate you. You may refuse to submit to questioning before speaking with a lawyer.
If an officer fails to give you a reading of these rights and proceeds to ask questions to be used as evidence against you, they have interrogated you unlawfully. If evidence is obtained without having your Miranda Rights read, your defense attorney may file a motion to exclude the evidence. This is a common strategy used to win DUI cases.
How a Lawyer Makes it Easier to Beat a DUI
A DUI conviction can result in a statutory summary suspension of your license as well as costly fines and potentially jail time. Legal representation is your best shot at beating a DUI charge.
After reviewing your case, your attorney will be able to determine if one of these common methods is the right defense strategy to help you avoid conviction. An experienced attorney will be well-versed in the process and will answer any questions you may have while assisting you throughout the entire process. No matter the situation, they will work to build an effective defense to retain your driving privileges. If you are facing drunk driving charges in the Illinois area and need legal representation, contact DUI Lawyers 24/7 to begin your free consultation.