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Exploring Common DUI Defenses If you are charged with driving under the influence, it is important to understand the legal ramifications of a conviction. In Illinois, over 26,000 DUI arrests were made throughout 2018, and the consequences of a DUI can be significant. A first conviction constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, which includes a one-year license revocation period. It should be noted that there are a number of aggravating factors that can result in an increase in the severity of the charges. Fortunately, there are several ways in which a skilled attorney can fight against a DUI charge

Common DUI Defenses

After you have been arrested on DUI charges, it is important to act quickly. The most important step you can take is hiring an attorney with experience in handling DUI cases. Once your attorney is hired, the two of you should review the events that lead up to the arrest process. One of the strongest defenses an attorney can use is an improper stop defense, which essentially argues that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to warrant a traffic stop. For instance, if an officer pulled you over simply due to the fact that it was late at night, an improper stop defense would likely be utilized. 

In other instances, an attorney will pursue a defense based on a field sobriety test or Breathalyzer test. A field sobriety test could indicate that a sober person is intoxicated if the person has medical conditions related to their balance or motor skills. A horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which looks at the eyes for signs of inebriation, could be inaccurate if the person has a medical condition related to eye function or appearance. In cases in which a breath test is used, it is possible that the Breathalyzer could have malfunctioned, leading to an inaccurate test. 

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Fighting Against an Aggravated DUI Charge Here in the state of Illinois, a DUI conviction can come with serious legal ramifications. Not only will the convicted party face a Class A misdemeanor charge, but they will also lose their driving privileges, face significant fines, and even potentially spend time in jail. Due to the fact that some crimes are blatantly worse than others, not all DUI charges are equal. There are a number of offenses that can elevate a DUI to an aggravated DUI, leading to even more potential punishment. Below we will discuss how to respond to an aggravated DUI charge

What Is an Aggravated DUI?

An aggravated DUI can simply be defined as a DUI with specific aggravating acts. For instance, if a person is charged with their third DUI, the charge will be elevated to an aggravated DUI. If the driver is apprehended while driving without a license or driving with a minor under the age of 15, the charge will be elevated. The most common aggravating factor is having a blood alcohol concentration over .16%. 

It is important to understand that an aggravated DUI can come with life-changing legal consequences. Even the most minor forms of aggravated DUIs constitute a Class 4 felony charge. If convicted, the driver could face as many as three years in prison. It should be noted that some aggravating factors, such as a DUI in which someone was injured, can lead to more severe punishments. 

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Three Common Strategies for DUI DefendantsWhen a person is arrested on DUI charges, it is common to feel helpless. The arrest process can be frightening, and the thought of fighting a DUI charge can seem nearly impossible. However, there are a number of ways in which a skilled criminal defense attorney can craft a defense strategy that could help their client avoid a conviction and subsequent mark on their criminal record. Recognizing that even a first-time DUI conviction results in a Class A misdemeanor, temporary license revocation, and a significant fine, an experienced defense lawyer will do everything in their power to see the charges dropped. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, speak with an attorney as soon as possible.  

How to Fight a DUI Charge 

When you initially meet with your attorney, the first step you should take is telling them everything you remember about the arrest. The initial conversation will allow your attorney to examine avenues they may take to develop a comprehensive and compelling defense strategy. 

  1. Lack of Reasonable Suspicion: In order for a law enforcement official to stop your vehicle, they must have a reasonable suspicion that you are breaking the law. Common reasons for a traffic stop can include speeding to swerving from lane to lane. If you are stopped without reasonable suspicion, all evidence obtained after the initial stop will be inadmissible in court. In order for you to be arrested on DUI charges, the officer must have probable cause to believe that you are in violation of state DUI laws. 
  2. Challenging Officer Testimony: In most DUI cases, the officer will believe that the person in question is inebriated due to the presence of common symptoms. In some cases, though, those symptoms may not be indicative of inebriation. For instance, a person may have bloodshot eyes due to allergies or sickness. A person may be suffering from slurred speech or irregular movement due to a medical condition rather than being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 
  3. Lack of Miranda Warning: While Miranda warnings are usually not a key aspect of DUI cases, they can play a role if a person is taken into police custody. If an officer does not recite the Miranda warning and a suspect says something incriminating while in police custody, the incriminating statement and any other statements will be inadmissible in court. Recalling the arrest process in its entirety can be critical to your attorney’s ability to craft a compelling defense case. 

Contact an Oak Brook DUI Defense Lawyer

At McMahon Law Offices, we fully understand the manner in which a DUI conviction can drastically impact a person’s livelihood. Understanding the ramifications of a conviction, we are prepared to do everything in our power to fight a conviction. If a conviction is unavoidable, we are prepared to guide you through the processes of regaining your driving privileges. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with a knowledgeable Oak Brook, Illinois, criminal defense attorney, contact us today at 630-953-4400. 

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