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Alcohol Consumption After Accident | Chicago DUI Lawyer

Chicago DUI Lawyers understand that every DUI case is different. The sequence of events leading to your arrest is unique. An Illinois DUI Defense Attorney might mention that you should know that the facts and circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest could be complicated. Sometimes the basis for the charge against you can be called into question...
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Alcohol Consumption After Accident

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Illinois DUI Defense Attorney: Blood Alcohol Level at the Time of Your Accident

Chicago DUI Lawyers understand that every DUI case is different. The sequence of events leading to your arrest is unique. An Illinois DUI Defense Attorney might mention that you should know that the facts and circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest could be complicated. Sometimes the basis for the charge against you can be called into question.

Depending upon the facts and circumstances of your individual case, you might have a strong defense to the DUI charge against you.Adept Illinois DUI Defense Attorneys know that there are even some defenses that, while rarely applicable to a case and difficult to demonstrate, could undo the case against you entirely.

When Drivers Might Drink AFTER They've Suffered Frightening Accidents

A Chicago DUI Lawyer realizes that it's understandable that some drivers who are trying to cope with a difficult and dangerous experience might turn to alcohol to help them cope with the aftermath of a traumatic wreck. For example, sometimes a person suffers a single vehicle accident. An unexpected accident can unsettle and frighten a driver badly. On occasion, that driver might be near home, a friend's house, or even a bar when the accident occurs. And the driver, now with a wrecked vehicle he or she doesn’t feel comfortable driving, might walk over to the beckoning haven and have a few drinks.

Illinois DUI Defense Attorneys have seen multiple cases where when a single vehicle accident is finally reported and officers come out to investigate, it takes some time to track down the driver where he or she has taken shelter. When the officer then arrests the driver on suspicion of DUI and conducts a test on the blood alcohol content (BAC), that driver's BAC might well be above the legal limit. Yet the driver might only have drunk alcohol after the time of the crash.

This Chicago DUI Lawyer reminds you that drinking after driving is not a crime. And the burden rests upon the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your blood alcohol content was above the legal limit at the time you were driving and had the accident.

When Might You Use the Defense that You Only Drank after You Drove?

Illinois DUI Defense Attorneys emphasize that consuming alcohol after operating a motor vehicle exists as a potential defense to DUI under the blood alcohol theory. A defendant has a right to introduce evidence on the amount of alcohol consumed after driving a motor vehicle to rebut or explain the results of the alcohol toxicology test as a defense that the chemical test did not measure the blood alcohol level at the time that the defendant was actually operating the motor vehicle.

But Chicago DUI Lawyers should caution you that the potential defense contending that you consumed alcohol sufficient to raise your BAC above the legal limit only after you finished driving is applicable only in fairly rare cases. These rare cases generally involve unusual circumstances such as a substantial delay between the time you were driving and experienced a wreck and when officers found you and tested your BAC.

This Illinois DUI Defense Attorney points out that the time factor and particular circumstances occurring after the accident are usually the keys to such a defense. For instance, if a driver suffers a traumatic accident in an isolated location and can't reach help, if that driver had groceries and alcohol in the car at the time of the accident, he or she might turn to food and drink to help provide comfort and solace while waiting for rescue.By the time an officer arrives to help the driver, their BAC might be above the legal limit. But again, drinking after driving is not a crime.

What Evidence do You need To Help Establish Your Innocence?

In court, where evidence shows a BAC above the legal limit at the time of testing, the presumption will be that you were driving under the influence. And your Chicago DUI Lawyer will need a careful strategy and compelling evidence to rebut that presumption in your favor. Over the years there has been some controversy surrounding the reliability of the various forms of blood alcohol testing.

Extensive data exists showing how people of different genders, ages, weights, health conditions, and other variations metabolize alcohol at very different rates. Where appropriate, your Illinois DUI Defense Attorney might introduce evidence regarding alcohol metabolism rates to help persuade the jury that you did not have a BAC at or above the legal limit at the time of your accident.

Evidence of blood alcohol metabolism rates could be introduced in the context of retrograde extrapolation testimony to overcome the presumption that you were legally drunk at the time you had your wreck. Qualified"expert witnesses" with substantial knowledge of the metabolic issues involved could help your Chicago DUI Lawyer establish the strength and soundness of your defense that you only drank and became drunk following your traumatic wreck. But such a defense is not easy to build. Courts and juries tend to be skeptical. Illinois DUI Defense Attorneys have to be skillful and diligent in demonstrating the defense on your behalf.

What do Illinois Courts say about the DUI Defense that You Drank after You Drove?

An Illinois Appellate Court decision, Village of Bull Valley v. Winterpacht, 2012 IL App (2d) 101192, March 28, 2012, recently addressed the issue of when retrograde extrapolation testimony might be required to show that the defendant's blood alcohol content was at or above 0.08% at the time the accused was driving. In that case, the defendant's blood alcohol content was tested two hours after an accident and found to be more than twice the legal limit.

Chicago DUI Lawyers note the particular circumstances surrounding the timing of first contacts with the defendant, subsequent contacts, and BAC testing. At the time of the accident, paramedics found the defendant unable to answer questions appropriately and slurring her speech,with a strong odor of alcohol. Over the next two hours, medical professionals treating her for injury found that the defendant became more coherent and able to function.

At the hospital, the arresting police officer found the defendant also to be lethargic, smelling of alcohol, and slurring her speech.The court found that the evidence indicated that her blood alcohol content at the time of the accident would have been similar to, if not higher than, the results obtained two hours later.

In contrast to Winterpacht, Illinois case law says that retrograde extrapolation evidence might be necessary when a blood alcohol test taken some time after an accident shows a blood alcohol level less than the statutory limit of 0.08%. In such a case, your Illinois DUI Defense Attorney realizes that such evidence might be used to extrapolate and show that the defendant's BAC was above the legal limit at the time of the accident. Rice v.Merchant's National Bank, 213 Ill. App 3d 790, 787 (1991).

People v. Malik, 113 Ill. App 3d 206, 212 (1983) further clarifies that extrapolation evidence regarding rates of alcohol absorption are not required when the defendant's breath alcohol content was twice the legal limit one hour after driving.

So experienced Chicago DUI Lawyers understand that Illinois case law maintains that matters involving a delay between the times of driving and blood alcohol testing go to the weight of the evidence and must be viewed in light of the circumstances surrounding the arrest. People v. Newman, 163 Ill.App 3d 865, 868 (1987). That case cited People v. Kappas, 120 Ill. App 3d 123,128-9 (1983) as authority.

And Petraski v. Thedos, 382 Ill. App 3d 22, 32 (2008)provides that any concerns about the facts upon which the defendant's alcohol content was determined may be challenged in court at the time of cross-examination. If the facts and circumstances of your case provide any solid basis for using the DUI Defense that you drank alcohol only after driving, an experienced Illinois DUI Defense Attorney could lay the proper foundation for this defense, introduce the appropriate evidence on your behalf, and take apart the prosecution's weak case during cross-examination.

Contact Chicago DUI Lawyer Michael P. Schmiege when You need to Prove Your Valid, but Complicated Defense

Illinois DUI Defense Attorney Michael P. Schmiege understands the challenges of effectively using the DUI Defense that you only became drunk after you finished driving. He knows that the cases where this DUI Defense validly applies are rare and involve complex issues of timing and sequence.

Mr. Schmiege realizes the uphill battle that you face in demonstrating the validity of this DUI Defense, and that you will face the presumption that you were actually drunk at the time you were driving and experienced your accident. But an astute Illinois DUI Defense Attorney like Michael Schmiege also knows the case law surrounding this defense, as well as the manner in which to construct your case and present the evidence and arguments on your behalf to demonstrate your innocence.

Blood alcohol testing results can be flawed and misleading,and your alcohol metabolism rate could be very different from other people's metabolic rates. Chicago DUI Lawyers are aware that there exists a great deal of individual variation among people in blood alcohol metabolism as in other things. It's a matter of collecting and persuasively presenting the evidence that clears you of an erroneous DUI charge.

Let dedicated Chicago DUI Lawyer Michael P. Schmiege use his legal experience and understanding to help you clear your name of your DUI charge. Contact him today for your free initial legal consultation and case evaluation to discuss your case. (312) 906-7800

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