Driver Not Drunk
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Illinois, you might already understand how a DUI conviction could be a life-changing event. In addition to the public humiliation at home and on the job, you face suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. Loss of your license might result in loss of your job. And depending upon the severity of your offense, you might also face hefty monetary fines and the possibility of significant jail or prison time. A DUI charge is nothing to take lightly. You need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to review the specific facts and circumstances of your case at once to uncover your possible defenses. The help of a skilled attorney could be critical to your case outcome and your future.
Drivers arrested for DUI sometimes are not, in fact, drunk. Driver fatigue, for instance, has been shown in multiple research studies to cause many of the same lapses in safe driving behavior as drunken driving. An experienced lawyer understands that distraction can also cause you to weave on the road, remain stopped once a light has turned green, miss a light, or vary your driving speed, among other erratic driving behaviors commonly associated with drunken driving. Injuries, medical conditions, and prescribed medications could also lead to erratic driving behaviors or minor traffic violations that cause an officer to stop you.
If you’ve refused to take a Breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test or to yield a blood sample, a jury might see your refusal as evidence that you were drunk when in fact you were not. The prosecutor in DUI cases has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving drunk as charged. While there remains some dispute as to what constitutes reasonable doubt, you might be surprised to learn that a commonly used defense by attorneys and their clients in DUI cases is that the driver was not drunk at the time of the offense. Distraction or drowsiness might have caused you to drive erratically and unsafely when you were not actually drunk.
Refusing Breathalyzer Test in Illinois
Where no Breathalyzer or blood test results exist, your lawyer might be able to successfully apply the defense that you were not drunk. The evidence against you might consist of witness testimony from those who saw you shortly before you began to drive or who saw you drive erratically. A police officer’s testimony regarding his observations of your driving behavior and at the time of the stop and arrest might also be used against you. Certainly any incriminating statements you make might be used against you. It is important not to admit to charges or to volunteer information. Always consult with a Chicago criminal defense attorney before making any statements.
A “failing” field sobriety test result might be the result of injury, a medical condition, fatigue, or prescribed medications. If you’ve been pulled over and arrested because of a minor traffic moving violation, a skillful lawyer might validly establish that you were sober at the time of your arrest.
A knowledgeable lawyer will point out that Breathalyzer test results have been shown to be unreliable in many cases. Women on some types of birth control medication, for instance, have been shown to metabolize alcohol at a different rate that can cause misleading DUI test results. An experienced DUI defense lawyer know the methods for challenging DUI testing results and could use those challenges to overturn your charge or get misleading evidence tossed out of court.
Contact a Chicago criminal lawyer for a skilled and effective defense!
Every DUI case is different. Your available defenses will depend on how the law applies to the specific facts of your individual case. It requires a knowledgeable and experienced Chicago DUI Attorney to accurately apply the law to the particular facts of your case and to uncover the most applicable defenses for the charges against you. For instance, where officers had no probable cause to arrest you or the stop was illegal, we could file a motion to dismiss the charges against you.
If you refused a breathalyzer test, we could challenge the arresting officer’s account of the incident. We also could challenge the results of a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test if you did submit to one. As previously mentioned, these tests have been shown to be unreliable in many cases, and several bases exist for challenging their results. Due process arguments might also apply depending upon the conditions of your testing and arrest.
If you are found guilty for a DUI offense, we might apply for court supervision depending upon the facts of your case. First-time offenders are eligible for supervision and can obtain dismissal of their case after successful completion of a program involving alcohol treatment, hearing a victim impact panel, and other requirements of the court. The arrest will remain on your record, but will not be listed as a “conviction.” This lack of a conviction record could be advantageous to you when applying for jobs or housing in the future, and in the event of a subsequent arrest. In addition, if you are found not guilty after trial and if you have no previous arrests on your record, Chicago Criminal Attorney Michael Schmiege could apply for expungement of your record to remove the DUI arrest from your criminal history. Call today!