When faced with driving under the influence (DUI) charges, it’s normal to feel anxiety about a license suspension, having to pay large fines, ruining your reputation, or possible jail time.
Criminal charges, including those that come from drunk driving arrests, are serious issues that warrant serious responses and solutions. Following your arrest, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
At DUI Lawyers 24/7, our experienced team of criminal defense lawyers is ready to help with your case. We have the knowledge, expertise, and dedication you will need to reach the best possible outcome for your unique circumstances. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your initial consultation!
Things to Know When Hiring an Illinois DUI Lawyer
If you have been arrested and face DUI charges, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Finding the right attorney for your case can be crucial to its outcome.
Finding an excellent Illinois DUI lawyer starts by conducting research into each potential candidate’s background and experience, followed by an interview. Most Illinois DUI lawyers are happy to talk with you briefly to get acquainted and learn more about your situation. The purpose of this meeting is to get to know more about the lawyer's background and experience, talk through your legal options, and determine if he/she is the right person to represent you.
The criminal justice system can move surprisingly quickly for criminal trials vs civil trials. This means you could find yourself rapidly facing down your court date without legal representation. By taking the right steps, however, you should be able to find the right attorney to manage your case.
There are several methods you can use to find the right Illinois DUI attorney. One of the most common is a referral from friends, family, or colleagues. This will give you a chance to ask about their experience with the lawyer, how they handled the case, the quality of advice they provided, etc.
Another popular method involves taking your research online. Regardless of where you live in Illinois; Kane County, DuPage County, Lake County, McHenry County, or elsewhere; you will be able to turn up reviews, client testimonials, and past results for an assortment of different local attorneys.
Related Content: Penalties for a First-Time DUI in Illinois
Felony DUI Charges in Illinois
Aggravated DUIs are felony offenses in Illinois. Criteria for a DUI to be considered aggravated include:
- Causing an accident that resulted in serious injury or death
- Driving a commercial vehicle or school bus with passengers
- Transporting a minor under the age of 16 and having a prior DUI conviction involving a child passenger
- Driving without a valid license or car insurance
- Previous conviction for an alcohol-related homicide
Aggravated DUI charges in Illinois are particularly serious and may result in years in prison if you are convicted. If you are facing aggravated DUI felony charges, call one of our Illinois DUI defense lawyers today.
Possible DUI Defenses
DUI cases often seem like open and shut cases in favor of the prosecution. In fairness, they are often difficult cases to win, relying on mistakes being made by police officers or the district attorney. That being said, it is absolutely possible to counter DUI charges in court if the right conditions can be presented.
Below are some of the most common DUI defense strategies and approaches for building the strongest defense case possible.
Learn More: What to Do After a DUI
Improper Field Sobriety Test
Law enforcement offices may put a driver through a number of field sobriety tests if they suspect drunk driving. These field tests, however, are far from infallible. If, for example, an officer does not meet the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when conducting a test, the results may not be reliable. With this being the case, it may be possible to disallow as evidence in your trial.
Field sobriety tests don't always consider extenuating circumstances that may affect an individual's performance. If someone has trouble keeping their balance or walking a straight line due to a disability or impairment may fail a sobriety test even while sober. It’s important to track everything that happened before and during an arrest so that you put together a strong case for why the police didn't follow proper procedure.
Inaccurate or Improper Breath or Blood Tests
Certain procedures need to be followed if someone's breath or blood is tested for alcohol. For example, a crime laboratory needs to handle samples carefully so they don't get contaminated.
Breath tests must also be administered following specific procedures to get accurate results. According to the National Motorists Association, breathalyzer tests have a margin of error of up to 50% due to:
- Improper calibration of the breathalyzer machine
- Mistakes by the machine in reading certain foods as alcohol content
- Mistakes by the machine in reading blood, vomit, or environmental elements as alcohol content
Anyone accused of driving under the influence of alcohol may be able to successfully argue against the results of a breath test based on these grounds.
While far less common than mistakes with field sobriety or blood alcohol content tests, necessity or duress may be successfully used to counter a DUI charge. In cases such as this, the defendant needs to have felt a genuine threat and attempted to escape from that.
For example, if you were to have found yourself in a situation facing physical harm and drove away from the scene despite being over the legal limit. If you are then pulled over and charged with a DUI, it may be possible to use necessity as a valid defense for your case.
Related Content: How Long Will You Lose Your License for a DUI in Illinois
Work with a Qualified Illinois DUI Lawyer
Facing criminal DUI charges can be a daunting ordeal. You could end up losing your driving privileges, facing a jail sentence, steep fines, increased insurance rates, and even the possibility of harm to future employment opportunities with a conviction on your criminal record.
Our legal team at DUI Lawyers 24/7 has the experience and skill you will need to build an effective defense strategy. We are able to help you navigate your driving under the influence charge, explain all the options available to you, break down common defenses for your charge, and prepare you for a criminal trial if necessary. Contact one of our hardworking defense attorneys today to schedule your free case consultation!