If you find yourself charged with a DUI in the State of Illinois it is important to understand the nature of this type of criminal case. There are basically two parts to a DUI case in Illinois that are handled by the courts in very different manners.
The first part of a DUI case involves your driving privileges with the Illinois Secretary of State. Illinois operates under a presumption called implied consent that essentially says that by possessing an Illinois driver’s license, you will submit to chemical testing when you are arrested for a DUI. Under the implied consent laws, you are subject to a Statutory Summary Suspension of your driving privileges after a DUI arrest. For your first DUI offense, you will receive a 6 to 12 month suspension if you submit to chemical testing, but if you refuse chemical testing you will receive a 12 to 36 month suspension. The only way to attempt to avoid the suspension of your driver’s license is to file a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension. The filing of this petition by your attorney will cause the State’s Attorney to schedule a full evidentiary hearing to allow the court to determine whether to lift the Statutory Summary Suspension from your license.
In the event that you are unable to avoid the Statutory Summary Suspension, you have an option to retain your driving privileges while your driver’s license is suspended. For you first DUI offense you may be eligible for a (MDDP) Monitoring Device Driving Permit. A MDDP will allow you operate your vehicle and drive wherever you require. You must install a BAIID (Blood Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device) into your automobile and pay a rental fee for that device in order to use the MDDP.
The second part of the DUI case pertains to the actual misdemeanor criminal charge. If you receive a DUI in the State of Illinois you will be strongly encouraged by the court to obtain a criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney can investigate your case to see if there are any possible defenses available and can determine if every aspect of the police officer’s DUI investigation was done correctly.
First DUI Conviction
Class A misdemeanor (possible imprisonment of up to 1 year; fines of up to $2,500); minimum revocation of driving privileges for 1 year (2 years if driver is under age 21); suspension of vehicle registration.
- If the DUI was committed with a BAC of .16 or more — In addition to any penalties or fines, mandatory minimum fine of $500 and mandatory minimum 100 hours of community service.
- If the DUI was committed while transporting a child under age 16 — In addition to any penalties or fines, possible imprisonment of up to 6 months, mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.
- If the DUI committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child (Aggravated DUI); Class 4 felony (possible imprisonment of 1-3 years, fines of up to $25,000), in addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory fine of $2,500 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.
Class: A misdemeanor (possible imprisonment of up to 1 year; fines of up to $2,500); mandatory minimum imprisonment of 5 days or 240 hours of community service; revocation of driving privileges for a minimum of 5 years for a second conviction within 20 years; suspension of vehicle registration.
- If committed with a BAC of .16 or more — In addition to any penalties or fines, mandatory imprisonment of 2 days and mandatory minimum fine of $1,250.
- If committed while transporting a child under age 16 (Aggravated DUI); Class 4 felony (possible imprisonment of 1-3 years, fines of up to $25,000).
- If committed while transporting a child under age 16 and involved in a crash that resulted in bodily harm to the child (Aggravated DUI); Class 2 felony (possible imprisonment of 3-7 years, fines of up to $25,000) — In addition to any other criminal or administrative sanctions, mandatory fine of $5,000 and 25 days of community service in a program benefiting children.
Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP):
Replaces Judicial Driving Permits (JDP).
This is the document the subject needs in order to drive. The driver may drive at any time, to any place within Illinois, for any reason, so long as the car (s)he is driving has the BAIID installed.
Period of Suspension: If a subject takes the breath/chemical test under implied consent and is .080 or over (or satisfies any of the other positive testing criteria) then the suspension is six months. If the subject refuses chemical testing under implied consent, then the suspension is 12 months. This applies to “first offenders” only. Suspension
periods for repeat offenders are not affected by this law.
Start/End of Suspension Period & “Hard” Time: Remains unchanged. The suspension starts on the 46th day from the date of the sworn report. The first 30 days are still a “hard” suspension during which no relief is available. Assuming no violations, the suspension ends on the last day of the 6th month or 12th month and the subject may pay a reinstatement fee to reinstate full driving privileges.
Conditions that Make a Driver Ineligible for an MDDP:
1. License is otherwise invalid
2. If death or great bodily harm resulted from this DUI arrest
3. If previously convicted of reckless homicide or aggravated DUI/causing death
4. If not a “first offender” as defined by the IVC.
5. If offender is under 18 years of age
6. CDL holders are not eligible for MDDP on their CDL license.
Employer Owned Vehicles/”Work Exemption”: This provision will not apply to commercial vehicles/driver’s licenses. If a person must drive for work purposes a car other than their own (employer-owned or controlled vehicle), they may ask for an exemption. This option is located on the MDDP order and will be signed by the offender and the judge. The SOS will make all other determinations. SOS will require a written letter from the employer on letterhead. The offender will have special paperwork from the SOS that (s)he must carry when driving the employer vehicle. The offender may only drive the vehicle in the scope of employment; it may not be a “take home” car. The offender will not be eligible for this exemption is (s)he is self-employed or works for a family-owned business. The SOS will make this determination.
The offender may still obtain an MDDP for his/her personal vehicle, a take-home vehicle or in the case of self- or family-owned employment.
Chicago DUI Attorney
Although numerous people are arrested for DUI in Chicago every year, a DUI charge is not always easy to beat. Individuals who are convicted of DUI may face serious consequences, including license suspension, jail time, and costly fines. Even a first-time offender may be subjected to the disastrous consequences of a DUI. The best way to beat a drunk driving charge is by obtaining the services of a skilled Chicago DUI lawyer. The Law Office of Goldman & Associates has successfully represented numerous clients plagued with the threat of a DUI conviction. We can help in any number of situations and advise you of your rights.
- DUI License Suspension and Revocation
When a driver is arrested or stopped by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, he or she risks having his or her license suspended or revoked. Illinois is an implied consent state when it comes to taking sobriety tests. This means that by driving on Illinois roads and highways, a driver is consenting to be tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol that may cause a driver to be arrested for a DUI. The driver can always refuse to be tested, and depending on the circumstances, the refusal can lead to a statutory summary suspension, or in some cases, summary revocation.
Unlike a statutory summary suspension, which is a temporary taking away of a driver’s license or driving privileges under Illinois statute 625 ILCS 5/1-204, a statutory summary revocation is a termination of a driver’s license or driving privileges under Illinois law 625 ILCS 5/1-197.6. Both suspension and revocations, as described here, are referred to as statutory and summary because they are immediate actions that happen automatically under the law. In most cases, there is no hearing before the suspension or the revocation, the hearings come after the suspension or revocation has already occurred.
Statutory Summary Suspension and Summary Revocation
A statutory summary suspension occurs when a driver either refuses to take, fails to complete, or fails a sobriety test. A statutory summary revocation can occur if a driver, who is involved in a car accident in which another person is injured or dies, refuses to submit to or fails to complete sobriety testing following the accident and an arrest for DUI. This summary revocation would happen even if the driver is charged with reckless homicide for the accident, and then subsequently acquitted. A driver may be granted a hearing up to 90 days after the suspension or revocation, in order to fight the loss of their license.
- The only way a driver can reinstate a license after revocation is through a long and often expensive process. First, the driver has to be approved for reinstatement after an administrative hearing with the Secretary of State. If approved for reinstatement, the driver has to complete any required drug or alcohol evaluations, show proof of financial responsibility, and pay a reinstatement fee. The driver must also submit an Alcohol/Drug Evaluation Report, completed after his or her most recent DUI arrest. The report must include the driver’s entire drug or alcohol history, and be prepared by an agency licensed by the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA). There may also be additional requirements based on specifics of the individual case. In addition, the driver cannot have pending traffic tickets at the time of the hearing, unless any pending ticket is the only cause of the current revocation the hearing is to address.
- Field Sobriety Tests for Illinois DUI
If you are stopped by law enforcement while driving and the officers suspect you have been drinking, they may want to perform different kinds of tests to determine whether you are driving under the influence (DUI). In addition to Breathalyzer and blood tests, the results of which must be processed by a forensic lab, officers may perform a set of tests at the site of the traffic stop. These tests are known as Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). In FSTs, the officers will ask you to perform a series of exercises that test your mental and physical capabilities, such as balance, coordination, and ability to follow instructions.
There are three standard FSTs approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These tests are as follows:
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test—the officer asks you to use your eyes only to follow an object that he moves from left to right. The officer is actually watching your eyes for early “nystagmus,” a jerking of the eye, which is a sign of intoxication.
Walk and Turn test—the officer asks you to take nine steps in a straight line, pivot, and then take nine steps in a straight line back. Not only is the officer looking for balance issues, but also your ability to remember and follow his instructions.
One-leg Stand test—you will be asked to stand on one leg, count from 1001 to 1030, and then to look down at your foot. An officer is mainly looking for balance problems with this test.
Not only do police officers use their perceived results of FSTs in order to decide whether to arrest you, but these results may also be used against you if you are prosecuted for DUI. The arresting officer will almost definitely testify against you at a DUI hearing and recount his impressions of your performance on FSTs. For this reason, challenging the accuracy of the FSTs is an important part of DUI defense.
Questionable FST results
NHTSA studies show that the Nystagmus test has a 77% rate of detecting intoxication, the Walk and Turn test has a 68% success rate, while the One-leg Stand test is only accurate 65% of the time. This means that one-third to one-fourth of people who are found to be intoxicated by FSTs are actually not impaired. These accuracy results only decline further if the officer is not properly trained in FSTs or administers any of the tests incorrectly. An experienced defense attorney knows how to use the potential inaccuracies of FSTs to challenge DUI arrests and charges in order to avoid wrongful convictions.
- How to Beat a DUI in Illinois
A conviction for a misdemeanor or felony DUI can lead to varying penalties, and can include jail time as well as high fines. In order to ensure the best outcome in your case, you need a skilled and zealous DUI defense attorney fighting for you. With a good attorney, you may be able to beat the DUI charge by challenging the facts leading to your arrest, the credibility of the officer, and even the accuracy of the tests used. The following are a few ways in which you can beat a DUI in Illinois.
Challenge the Initial Stop
In order for the police to pull you over and therefore administer a DUI test, they must either have probable cause, or at the very least reasonable suspicion. This means that they must have a valid reason that they can point to for stopping you; usually, this reason is a traffic offense such as weaving in traffic. If the officer who pulls you over cannot state a reason for the stop, or provides an inadequate reason, then there is no probable cause and any evidence from the stop cannot be used against you. Note that weaving inside your own lane of traffic is not illegal and the officer cannot use this as a basis for the stop.
Police Failure to Tell You Your Rights
If the arresting officer does not advise you of your Miranda rights after arresting you, any incriminating statements you make cannot be used against you in court.
Challenge the Accuracy of the Sobriety Testing
In some cases, certain medical conditions can interfere with the Breathalyzer test used to check the blood alcohol content (BAC). Conditions such as hypoglycemia, which can cause acetone in the driver’s breath, can cause falsely high BAC readings. A person suffering from hypoglycemia may exhibit other symptoms such as dizziness or confusion that can cause an officer to think they are intoxicated.
If you have dentures or other dental work that may trap alcohol, the results of your Breathalyzer test may be affected. As would be the case if you belched and the officer did not give you another test after waiting for some time. Additionally, the Breathalyzer used to conduct the test may have been faulty and incorrectly calibrated, or used incorrectly by the officer administering the test, leading to false results.
Rising Blood Alcohol
You can argue that since blood alcohol levels keep rising after your initial consumption of alcohol, your BAC levels were higher at the time you took the test than at the time you were actually driving. This argument works better if the police do not immediately test you upon being pulled over on suspicion of DUI.
Location of the Arrest
You could argue that the area where you were pulled over affected how you were driving, for example if the terrain was rough, or there was a bend in the road. Similarly, you can challenge the weather conditions at the time of the stop.
Police Officer’s Inconsistent Testimony
if the officer who pulled you over is inconsistent in his testimony, saying something at trial that is different from what he said before regarding the initial stop, you can challenge his testimony. In addition, if the officer has any prior disciplinary problems, you may be able to use those to challenge his credibility.
- Felony DUI in Illinois
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Illinois, and can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. In Illinois, felony DUI is also known as aggravated DUI. The seriousness of a conviction for aggravated DUI cannot be understated; a conviction could result in lengthy prison terms and high fines.
The Law in Illinois
Under the Illinois law, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, anyone who drives or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is guilty of a DUI. There are certain situations in which a DUI can be upgraded and classified as an aggravated DUI. These are:
The arrest is for a third or subsequent DUI;
The DUI offense was committed while the driver was driving a school bus with one or more passengers;
The driver driving under the influence is involved in a car accident, as a result of being under the influence, where another person is disfigured, suffers a permanent disability or great bodily harm;
The driver has a prior conviction for involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide;
The driver was speeding through a school zone while under the influence, and there was an accident involving great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement;
The driver of a car, a snowmobile, an ATV, or watercraft is involved in an accident that results in death, and is caused because the driver was under the influence;
The driver is arrested for a DUI while his driving privileges are revoked or suspended due to previous convictions for certain offenses including prior DUI convictions;
The driver committed the DUI offense while driving without a license or permit or on a restricted license;
The driver was driving uninsured;
If a child under the age of 16 was harmed in a car accident caused by the driver being under the influence;
The driver is arrested for a second DUI while driving a person under the age of 16 as a passenger; or
The driver was driving a vehicle for hire with one or more passengers.
Penalties for Aggravated DUI
The penalties for an aggravated DUI vary according to the felony class the particular offence falls into. Prison terms for an aggravated DUI can be anywhere from 90 days to 28 years in prison. For example a third DUI is classified as a class 2 felony, and is punishable by 90 days in prison.
Additionally, there are fines imposed as part of the sentence, and these can also vary according to the classification of the felony. Fines can range from $2,500 to $25,000. In addition, community service may be ordered. Conviction for an aggravated DUI could also lead to suspension or revocation of driving privileges. In the case of a third DUI, a driver loses driving privileges for 10 years.
In some cases, a driver convicted of an aggravated DUI may be sentenced to probation or supervision.
- Misdemeanor DUI in Illinois
- A Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction can have long lasting repercussions in a person’s personal and professional life. A driver arrested for a DUI may lose work time or a job over the arrest and have increased insurance premiums, in addition to the legal penalties of a conviction. Additionally, a DUI becomes a permanent part of the driver’s driving record.
- What is a DUI offense?
- In Illinois, it is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This includes driving while under the influence of medical marijuana, even with a valid prescription. It is also illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. Commercial truck drivers can be arrested for a BAC of 0.04 or higher, while school bus drivers can be arrested for a BAC of 0.01 or higher.
- In the context of a DUI, actual physical control of the vehicle can be anything from sleeping in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, to sleeping in the back seat of the vehicle. Illinois courts determine whether or not a driver was in actual physical control of a vehicle by looking at the facts on a case by case basis. If you are arrested for a DUI just from being inside your vehicle “sleeping it off,” you need to consult an experienced Chicago DUI attorney for a consultation based on the facts of your case.
- Penalties for a DUI
- Under the Illinois DUI law (625 ILCS 5/11-501), a DUI can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether a DUI is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on several factors, including whether or not the arrest is a first or second offense, or if there is an accident with serious injuries sustained, especially by a child who was being transported by the drunk driver.
- A first-time offense of DUI is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, with the driver’s driving privileges revoked for a minimum of one year for drivers who are over the legal drinking age and up to two years for drivers under 21.
- For a second offense, the DUI is still classified as a Class A misdemeanor, but it carries a mandatory minimum of five days imprisonment or 240 hours of community service. In addition, the vehicle’s registration is suspended, and the driver’s driving privileges are revoked for a minimum of five years if the second condition is within 20 years of the first offense. For both the misdemeanor offenses, there are also fines that can be assessed up to $2,500.
- Additionally, if you are arrested for a DUI while driving on a suspended license or permit, or while uninsured, your car may be impounded by the police. Your car may also be impounded if you have certain prior convictions, or if the DUI is your third or subsequent DUI offense.
- Third or subsequent DUI offenses qualify as felonies.
- Illinois Implied Consent Law and DUI Testing
- Police officers can seek to test Illinois drivers on suspicion of DUI in several situations. An officer can pull a driver over for speeding or a broken taillight, for a roadside safety check, or if the driver is driving in a manner that suggests the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Implied Consent to Sobriety Testing
Illinois drivers are deemed to have agreed to DUI testing when they drive on Illinois roads and highways, including submitting to a chemical test or tests of blood, breath, or urine in order to determine the alcohol content, the content of other drugs, or intoxicating compounds. This is called implied consent to testing, and it is allowed under Illinois law 625 ILCS 5/11-501.1. The police are allowed to choose which test will be administered in any given case.
Despite this law, the driver still does not have to take a sobriety test. However, there are consequences for refusal. If a police officer suspects a driver is driving drunk, the officer can ask the driver to take a field sobriety test. When the driver is unconscious or unable to refuse the test, they are deemed to have consented to any testing, and may be tested while unconscious.
- Police Warnings Prior to Testing
A police officer asking a driver to take a sobriety test has to inform the driver of that refusal to submit to the test will result in:
- The statutory summary or immediate suspension of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle;
- The disqualification of the person’s privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle;
- The statutory summary revocation of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle, if the driver was involved in a motor vehicle accident that caused personal injury or death to another; and
- License suspension of differing length depending on criminal history, if the person submits to a test and tests positive for any drug or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading of 0.08 or higher. If the driver is under 21, the BAC should be 0.00.
- License Suspension
The following periods of license suspension apply depending on whether or not the driver refuses to take the test.
- If the driver refuses or fails to complete the administered tests, his or her license can summarily or automatically be suspended for a year for a first offense, and three years for a second offense.
- If a driver takes a chemical test and fails, then his or her license may be suspended for six months for a first offender, and one year for subsequent offenders.
- If the driver is an authorized medical marijuana patient under Illinois law410 ILCS 130, and takes a test that discloses impairment, the driver’s license may be suspended for six months.
- A driver whose license is suspended may request a hearing before a judge to contest the suspension within 90 days of the notice issued for the suspension. It is advisable to have an attorney represent you during this hearing.
Retrieving Impounded Car After DUI Arrest
- Aiding and Abetting DUI
- In some cases, a person’s conduct can lead to his or her arrest based on another driver driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One of the most common ways this may occur is if a car owner allows an intoxicated person to drive the car owner’s vehicle.
- Getting Arrested for Someone Else’s DUI
- Under Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/16-202) it is unlawful for the owner, or any other person, employing or otherwise directing the driver of any car to require or knowingly to allow the car to be driven on Illinois highways in any way that is against the law. Additionally, it is also against Illinois law for one person to aid or abet another in the commission of a crime such as DUI, or to permit someone to drive while intoxicated. (625 ILCS 5/16-20; 625 ILCS 5/18a-305).
- If a drunk driver takes your car without your permission and later gets arrested for DUI, it is unlikely that you, as the car owner, will be held liable if you did not know the driver was drunk. This is because the law requires some level of knowledge from the car owner that the driver was drunk, or that the driver would be drunk while using the car.
- The Secretary of State may sometimes allow drivers who have prior convictions for DUI to drive if their cars are fitted with a device that allows the driver to operate it only if his or her blood alcohol content is under the legal limit. An intoxicated driver cannot operate a car with an interlock device. If you, as a car owner, allow someone with prior DUIs and an interlock device installed to use your car, and the driver gets arrested for DUI, it might be argued that you aided and abetted the new DUI.
- When a driver is arrested for DUI, the police may have the car impounded. Once a driver is arrested on a DUI, the car can be impounded regardless of who owns it. The owner of the car, and not the driver, is financially responsible for getting the car released.
- In addition to towing and storage fees, there may be additional charges that a car owner would have to pay to get the car released from impound. In Chicago for instance, the car owner would have to pay an additional administrative fee of $2,000. (Chicago Municipal Code section 7-24-226). If the car is impounded near a school or park, the fee can be increased to $3,000. While the car owner may get the money back from the driver who received the DUI by filing a civil case, the car owner cannot contest the fees or other charges based on the fact that the owner was not driving or responsible for the car getting impounded.
- DUI and Driving on a Suspended License
In Illinois, your license can be suspended for a DUI-related arrest where you fail (or fail to complete) a sobriety test, or when you refuse to take the sobriety test. The length of the suspension varies depending on the number of times you have previously been arrested for a DUI. A suspension means that you cannot legally drive for the period of time the suspension is in place, unless you have permission from the Illinois Secretary of State.
Can you still drive during a suspension?
A first-time DUI offender who wishes to drive during the suspension period has to apply to the Secretary of State for a Monitoring Device Driver’s Permit (MDDP). A MDDP is a permit that allows a driver with a suspended license unlimited driving privileges despite the suspension. In order to qualify as a first-time DUI offender under the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-500), and therefore qualify for a MDDP, a driver must not have:
- Received a previous statutory summary suspension in the five years preceding the driver’s current suspension;
- Been convicted of DUI or assigned court supervision for DUI in Illinois; or
- a DUI conviction from another state within 5 years.
A MDDP cannot be issued if the Secretary of State finds that:
- The driver’s license is invalid;
- Death or great bodily harm to another person resulted from the incident leading to arrest;
- The driver has been previously convicted of reckless homicide or aggravated DUI involving death;
- The driver is less than 18 years of age; or
- The driver is a qualifying and licensed medical marijuana patient.
Once approved for a MDDP, the driver has to pay a monthly administration fee of up to $30. Furthermore, an approved driver has 14 days from the day the MDDP is issued to have an ignition interlock device installed by a qualified provider. An ignition interlock device, sometimes referred to as a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID), is a device that is attached to a car’s starter system. In order to start the car, a driver has to blow into the device and receive a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) reading. The device measures a driver’s BAC, and if the content is above a certain point, the driver cannot start the car and will be required to retest after a short time. The approved level below which the driver can start the car and drive is programmed into the device by the Secretary of State. Tampering with an ignition interlock device is considered a violation of the MDDP program.
In some cases, if a driver needs to drive a different car in the course of his or her employment, he or she can get permission from the Secretary of State to drive that car without installing an ignition interlock device. However, there are certain employees, such as school bus drivers, who cannot receive this accommodation.
- If you do not have an MDDP, driving while on a suspended license is a class 4 felony.
- Drugged Driving
In Illinois, a driver can be arrested for a drugged DUI under Illinois law 625 ILCS 5/11-501, if the driver was driving, or in actual physical possession of a vehicle while:
under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a point that leaves the driver incapable of driving safely;
under the combined influence of alcohol, other drugs, or intoxicating compounds to a point that leaves the driver incapable of safely driving; or
there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person’s breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of drugs.
What about medical marijuana?
Generally, having a medical marijuana registry card is not a defense to a drugged DUI charge. However, if the arrest was because of the presence of marijuana in the person’s breath, blood, or urine resulting from the lawful use of marijuana, there may be a defense. Depending on the frequency of use for a person, marijuana can be detected in the body anywhere from two weeks to a month after use. For some heavy users, the drug may be detected much longer. Being a registered medical marijuana patient can be a defense if the patient used the marijuana in the past, the drug is still in his system, and the driver is not impaired at the time of driving.
If a driver is arrested based on the presence of an unlawful drug, the prosecution does not have to prove that the driver was impaired while driving in order to get a conviction. It is enough that the substance is detectable in the person’s breath, blood, or urine. It is more difficult for the prosecution to prove presence of drugs on a driver’s breath than to prove presence in the blood or urine.
- In some Illinois cases, the testimony of the arresting officer as to the presence of drugs due to the smell of a defendant’s breath has been insufficient for a conviction, without more supporting evidence. (People v. Allen, 375 Ill. App. 3d 810 (2007). However, in other cases, the courts have accepted the testimony of the arresting officer alone; although usually the officer also describes physical signs of the driver’s impairment. In order to avoid giving the prosecution evidence to use against you, as a driver, you should never admit to having smoked marijuana or used any other kind of drug prior to driving, even if you think the drug is out of your system. An admission can be supporting evidence to a police officer’s testimony that he or she smelled drugs on your breath.
As experienced Chicago DUI Lawyers, we understand that DUI conviction can have life-altering consequences in the life of any individual. The severity of your DUI offense can play a significant role in the penalties you will receive. This is especially true if you are found guilty of vehicular homicide or had children in the car at the time the offense took place. However, even a first-time offender can suffer severe consequences as a result of driving under the influence. Because a DUI may still appear on your record even if you avoided jail time, it is important to have a Chicago DUI attorney who will fight for your rights.
Police Reports and DUI
It is fairly common to be fearful of a police report if you have been charged of DUI. However, it is important to understand that the details of a police DUI report are not definitive of whether or not you may be convicted for DUI. A knowledgeable DUI attorney with numerous years of experience will know how to properly defend you regardless of what a police report says. In fact, courts have questioned the credibility presented on several police reports. It has also been shown that police officers often lack the knowledge and training in administering breathalyzer and other sobriety tests. Therefore, it is in your best interest to seek the immediate legal help of a Chicago DUI attorney as soon as possible.