Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a charge of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by a substance. The laws are clear with regards to the hazard that impaired driving presents both for the driver, as well as passengers and other drivers on the road. And it is a growing problem with 34, 611 DUI arrests in Illinois in 2013.
Other 2013 statistics for the State of Illinois revealed:
- 317 people were killed in DUI related crashes in Illinois.
- 32% of crash fatalities involved driving under the influence.
- Males 21-24 had the highest rate of DUI offenses in Illinois and represented about 15 out of every 1, 000 licensed drivers in the state.
The legal consequences for a DUI charge are staggering, even for first time offenses which demonstrates the Zero Tolerance law in effect for impaired driving in the United States. In 2013, 93% of drivers in Illinois who were charged with a DUI offense had their licenses revoked. About 86% of drivers arrested for a DUI are first time offenders and depending on the severity of the charge, the circumstances of the accident (loss of life or injury) the penalty can be loss of license, a fine, prison time or all three punitive sentences.
The loss of a license severely impacts an individual and the ability he or she has to work, or enjoy the convenience of driving anywhere they need to. Since public transit is not available to a large extent in most suburban areas, it can be a financial loss in addition to an inconvenience. Some employment opportunities also require a valid license, and a DUI charge among other things can double and even triple your automotive insurance premium. The costs of being found guilty of a DUI are extensive.
How to Beat a Charge of DUI
As an individual being pulled over and processed for a charge of driving under the influence, you do have rights however. There are provisions within the law that protect your rights to a fair prosecution and ways that you can appeal to those laws to help reduce or prevent a DUI conviction, particularly if it is your first offense.
An Illegal Stop
A police officer has to have a reason for pulling you over and to test you for suspected DUI. If you are driving erratically, swerving or if you have hit something, or if you are driving with the interior lights on, have no seatbelt on or a broken headlight, an officer can pull you over. If the officer did not provide a reason for pulling you over, it is possible that it might have been an illegal stop, in which case the evidence gathered after the stop is inadmissible in court.
An anonymous report of an impaired driver is also not cause for the police officer to pull you over on suspicion of impaired driving. Since a report can be from another individual with a malicious intent, while police offers appreciate tips from the public, they require additional cause for pulling your vehicle over.
Field Sobriety Tests Inaccurate
Did you know that the “stand on one leg” test is only 65% accurate? If you are an obese individual and more than 50 pounds overweight, the result of the test may not be admissible. Individuals with medical conditions including diabetes, vertigo and more cannot be legally judged on the grounds of the test result. Touching your finger to your nose or saying the alphabet, or requests to “count backward” are not legally admissible field tests.
Breath Test and Analysis
Did you know that breath tests are known to be inaccurate? That is why on the grounds of breathalyzer tests only, someone cannot be convicted of a DUI. The machines have a manufacturer warning and rating of being + or – 12.5% depending on circumstances. Also if there is a malfunction or repair request for the breathalyzer machine within a specific period of time, the results of the DUI test may be invalidated. The test must also be administered by a licensed operator, who has been trained to use the equipment.
Failure to Read Miranda
You have the right to remain silent; but officers of the law do not. When incarcerating you for a charge of DUI officers are required to Mirandize the detainee, also known as “reading of legal rights”. If this did not happen at the time of your incarceration, the evidence and charges may be dismissed in court.
Evaluation of a Booking Video
When your interview and booking is conducted, it is recorded for evidence. If however you appear to be sober, and clear in both your speech and body movements, the booking video can be admitted as part of your defense to demonstrate sobriety at the time of the charge.
With so much at risk with a driving under the influence charge, it is wise to find a DUI attorney in Chicago who can address your case and provide a strategy to help you avoid conviction. Weigh the cost of an attorney with the cost of prison time or a license suspension, and choose to get the best legal defense to help fight the DUI charge.