If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois, and chemical testing proved you were over the legal limit for drugs or alcohol, you may think your only option is to plead guilty and accept a DUI conviction on your permanent record.
An aggressive and well-versed DUI defense attorney, however, may be able to help you avoid a conviction. There are numerous grounds on which a DUI defense can be built.
When talking to your attorney, be sure to convey all the details that you can remember, so that your attorney can consider whether any of these defenses might apply in your case:
1. No Valid Reason for the Traffic Stop
A police officer must be able to state a legal reason for stopping a driver. If there is no valid reason for the initial traffic stop, any evidence (e.g., a breathalyzer or blood test) gathered by the police after that may also be invalid. Weaving without crossing lanes or an anonymous phoned-in tip that someone is driving drunk, to name just two examples, are not considered valid reasons for a traffic stop.
2. Invalid Field Sobriety Tests
A police officer must have valid reasons, known as probable cause, to arrest someone for a particular crime. An officer’s personal observations and the driver’s performance on field sobriety tests are often cited as the probable cause for a DUI arrest.
However, these tests may later be ruled invalid for a variety of reasons, and the arrest itself may then be ruled invalid as well. For example, an officer might report a person’s confused speech, lack of eye contact, and physical unsteadiness as evidence of intoxication, but those conditions could actually have been due to illness or fatigue. As another example, an officer might cite unapproved roadside tests as evidence of intoxication, such as asking you to touch your finger to your nose or recite the alphabet. Even the “officially recognized” field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg stand and the walk-and-turn tests, are not 100% accurate, particularly for people who are obese, elderly, injured, or ill.
3. Invalid Breathalyzer, Blood, or Other Chemical Tests
There are many rules that must be adhered to in order for a breathalyzer or other chemical test to be considered valid evidence in a criminal DUI case. For example, a breathalyzer test must be performed with an approved device that is properly calibrated, it must be administered by someone with a current operator’s license (Illinois requires renewal of an operator’s license every three years), and it must be administered according to a specific procedure. A breathalyzer test may also be ruled invalid if the machine malfunctioned or had to be repaired in the period shortly before or after your test was performed. Even hospital blood tests can be ruled inaccurate, particularly for severely injured people.
4. Evidence that Contradicts a Police Officer’s Statements>
There are a number of ways that a police officer’s written report or verbal testimony can be countered, such as recordings made by squad car or police station cameras or testimony by independent witnesses. For example, a police officer may testify that a person had slurred speech and an unsteady gait, while video recordings provide evidence to the contrary.
Protect Your Rights with a Skilled Joliet DUI Defense Attorney
If you are arrested for DUI, even if you tested “over the limit,” you may still be able to avoid a DUI conviction. To protect your rights, contact a knowledgeable Will County DUI defense attorney . For a free and confidential consultation, call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025; calls are responded to 24 hours a day.