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What Are Common DUI Defense Strategies?When a person is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, the legal implications of the conviction can be significant. If convicted, a first-time DUI offender could face up to one year in prison, fines as high as $2,500, and a license revocation of one full year. Recognizing the potential life-changing ramifications of a conviction, it is critically important to seek out legal assistance if you are facing drunk driving charges. Through a number of defense strategies, a quality attorney may be able to help you avoid a conviction. Below, we will examine some of the most common and effective DUI defenses. 

Police Misconduct 

When a police officer pulls you over and arrests you on suspicion of DUI, they must follow a specified protocol throughout the arrest proceedings. Failure to adhere to this protocol could be grounds to have evidence thrown out. According to state and federal law:

  • if you are suspected of driving under the influence and are taken into police custody, police are required to give you Miranda Warnings prior to questioning; and
  • Prior to administering a chemical test, an officer is required to warn you that refusal to submit to testing or failing the test may result in loss of driving privileges.

Testing results and incriminating statements may be inadmissible in court if the officer fails to follow these procedures.

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DuPage County DUI defense lawyer alcohol/drug evaluationIf you plead guilty or are found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois, you are required by law to undergo a professional evaluation of your drug/alcohol use prior to your sentencing (625 ILCS 5/11-501.01). You are required to pay for this evaluation, and it costs around $225. Because the resulting report reveals a great deal of information about you, and it will be used by the judge in your sentencing, it is highly recommended that you consult a lawyer prior to your DUI evaluation. 

What to Bring to Your Alcohol/Drug Evaluation

You will need to bring the following to your DUI evaluation:

  • The police documentation from your arrest that shows your drug/alcohol test results.
  • A list of any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you currently take or were taking when you were arrested for DUI.
  • A friend or relative at least 18 years old who knows you well and is willing to answer questions about your alcohol/drug use.

What Happens at a DUI Evaluation

You can expect the DUI evaluation to take about 2.5 hours. The evaluator will ask you a number of questions in order to complete a standard form called the Alcohol/Drug Evaluation Uniform Report. The questions will cover these topics:

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Oak Brook drunk driving defense attorneyAccording to an annual report on DUI arrests in Illinois, law enforcement efforts remain one of the most significant deterrents to drunk driving. The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) has been producing this report for over 25 years in order to highlight the efforts of individual police departments and specific officers. 

Illinois State Police Make the Largest Number of DUI Arrests

According to the latest AAIM report, the Illinois State Police make more than 5,000 DUI arrests each year. They get credit for making the most arrests of any law enforcement agency in the state, in part because they employ more than 1,700 troopers. However, when you consider the ratio of DUI arrests per sworn officer, the State Police ratio of three arrests per officer per year is well below the arrest rate for several county and city police departments. Still, anyone thinking about drinking and driving on the interstate highways should think twice, because there is a good chance of being caught by a state trooper.

Several DuPage County Cities Rank High in DUI Arrests

You might think that the city of Chicago, with over 12,000 sworn officers, would also have a large number of DUI arrests. However, the opposite is true. With just under 2,000 DUI arrests per year, the CPD makes just 0.1 arrests per officer per year.

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Illinois DUI defense lawyerIn Illinois, if a driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) measures .08 or higher, they are automatically deemed guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. Under the law, a driver is assumed to be too impaired to drive when their BAC is .08 or higher. However, you should be aware that, under certain circumstances, Illinois drivers can be penalized for drinking and driving with a BAC below .08.

Four Ways You Can Be Penalized for Driving with a BAC Below .08

Scientific studies have shown that alcohol begins to affects your judgment and reaction time starting from the first drink, well before your BAC reaches the .08 level. Therefore, some types of drivers are held to a stricter standard for highway safety reasons. Illinois law defines four ways you can be charged with DUI or otherwise penalized for driving with even a very low level of alcohol in your system.

While driving a personal vehicle, you could be charged with DUI if your BAC tests higher than .05 but less than .08. However, in this situation, in order for you to actually be convicted of DUI, the police must present other convincing evidence that you were actually too impaired to drive safely. The arresting officer would have to testify, for example, that you were driving erratically, failed field sobriety tests, and/or admitted to consuming other types of intoxicants in addition to alcohol.

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Posted on in DUI Defense

Illinois DUI lawyerWe are approaching the end of the year, and 2018 is in plain sight. Many of us have already planned our New Year’s Resolutions for the upcoming year, and we want to keep them for as long as possible. Unfortunately, on New Year’s Eve, too many people decide to drink excessively and then go behind the wheel to attempt to go home. New Year’s Eve is a day when many DUI’s occur, and those who have been charged with a DUI may have to spend the beginning of the New Year behind bars.

How Can New Year’s Eve Celebrations Affect the Number of DUI Cases?

Every year on New Year’s Eve, law enforcement officers keep a much closer eye on the roads due to the number of parties that involve alcohol that occurs during this time. Another major concern includes the mixture of drugs and alcohol at parties, and those who use this concoction try to drive home; far too many cases involve DUI-related deaths from this “experiment.” Two years ago, there were three times as many DUI-related deaths that included the mixture of alcohol and drugs than there were if the alcohol and drugs were kept separate.

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Posted on in DUI Defense

DUI lawyerNo matter how complicated the DUI defense process may be, it is not always perfect. Given the fact that everyone makes mistakes, some of them can be very serious and can negatively affect your quality of life. Filling out the paperwork for a DUI charge must be accurate, and no mistakes can be made. For more than seven years, at least 3,000 drivers in the Chicago area were arrested for a DUI, but their information was not logged into the State’s system.

DUI Mix-Ups Can Cause Serious Problems

More than thousands of people caught drinking and driving have avoided required license suspensions because of mix-ups in DUI papers. They have also could stay on the roads since their DUI paperwork did not go through or was mishandled. Research has found that the arrests of those drivers were not logged into the Illinois state computers to suspend their driver’s license. Because of these failures, there is much concern that there may be more dangerous drivers on the roadway than anticipated.

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Illinois DUI lawyerGoing out to a nice restaurant and sharing a bottle of wine or a few beers with friends can be a fun way to spend an evening. However, to ensure that an individual will return home safely, he or she will need to plan the driving situation ahead of time. Ideally, the person does not drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel, but he or she needs to know how to handle being stopped by a law enforcement officer if found drinking and driving.

Cooperation Is Key to All Potential Consequences

While driving home, it is always nerve-wracking to see red and blue flashing lights in the rearview mirror. The worst way to react is to keep driving. The police will believe that the driver is trying to resist law enforcement. It is always best to slow down and safely pull over as to not obstruct traffic. Other means of proper action include but are certainly not limited to:

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Illinois DUI lawyer, Illinois defense attorneyDrivers who have had a few too many drinks before getting on the road pose a risk to themselves and others. Logically, police want to protect the community while also doing their job so they can provide for their families. In many cases, the field sobriety tests given at a stop are conducted illegally, regardless of intention. If the officer failed to adhere to the law and structure required to make a DUI stop or arrest, the integrity of the test becomes questionable. It is increasingly common for officers to wear or utilize video recording devices for a stop. This video evidence becomes useful in court.

Traditional FST Methodologies Are Inaccurate

Most of the commonly conducted field sobriety tests have been around for years, or decades. They say that if something is not broken, do not fix it. However, just because something is common practice does not make it right, either. The intention of the examinations is to determine impairment of psychomotor and cognitive functions. The theory is that if the individual is unable to follow directions and pay attention, they were not logically able to do so in a car. The three most frequent examinations are the “walk and turn,” the “one-legged stand,” and the "horizontal gaze nystagmus.” If any of the tests show any mistakes, notes claiming impairment go into the report. The pitfall of these tests is the situation in which the test is administered is not under normal circumstances. The surroundings and the experience cause adverse negative reactions, which also slow motor functions. The following factors have nothing to do with intoxication but can affect the results:

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DUI laws, DUI defense, DUI arrest, DuPage County DUI attorney, summer DUIWhen it comes to holidays and DUI, people may consider New Year’s Eve and Christmas Day to have the highest number of fatal accidents. These holidays, however, are not the most prevalent for drinking and driving accidents.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Memorial Day and Independence Day rank higher than either of the other two. The only holiday ranking consistently higher is Thanksgiving Day.

Surprising Statistics

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teenage drunk driving, DUI, DUI defense, DUI charges, DuPage County DUI defense attorneySchool is out for the summer, and this free time encourages teenagers to find methods to fill the gaps. Unfortunately, idle hands can breed mischief. One go-to time-consumer for many teens is socializing, and alcohol consumption is often incorporated. However, alcohol and teens do not mix well, under any circumstances. Moreover, underage drinking and driving can result in a deadly outcome. If fortunate enough to be stopped by a police officer before an accident occurs, the consequences may still be life-altering.

Illinois Zero Tolerance Policy

In Illinois, it is illegal to be under the age of 21 and operate a motor vehicle with any trace of alcohol in the bloodstream. This policy is is known as a Zero Tolerance Policy for Underage Drinking. Even transporting alcohol in the passenger seat of a car is illegal, regardless of ownership.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_DUI-for-sleeping-in-the-car-Oak-Brook.jpgConsider the following scenario: You went out with friends and drank too much. You knew you were not safe to drive. Rather than wait for a taxi to pick you up and take you home, or ride home with one of your intoxicated friends, you decided to sleep off your intoxication in the car. However, your decision came under question when an officer knocked on your window and began demanding sobriety tests. Now, you are facing DUI charges and you were not even driving. How did this happen?

Not As Uncommon As You Might Think

DUI sleeping in a car is possible and relatively common. The Illinois criminal code broadly states that an individual may not be in actual or physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated. If you are sleeping, are you in real control of the vehicle? The following factors provide guidelines for these cases:

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Oak Brook DUI defense attorney, marijuana affects drivingMuch of what we do while on the road can be categorized as distracting—talking, texting, eating. These are just a few examples of everyday occurrences that keep us from driving at our best. Media outlets and printed articles distribute the impact of these distractions to a broad audience. However, one less discussed modifier is marijuana, perhaps because it is a controlled substance.

Although marijuana is not legal recreationally at this point in Illinois, there are bills in motion aiming to legalize the substance for consenting adults. Many have concerns over how this will affect DUI Marijuana charges. Yet how do drugs affect our driving performance?

Marijuana Effects On Driving

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DuPage County DUI defense attorney, implied consent, breathalyzerWhen a person has been drinking, the effect that the alcohol has on the individual is determined by the amount of alcohol consumed and the rate at which the the body absorbs the alcohol. In general, it takes about one hour for the body to metabolize one alcoholic beverage. 

One frequently asked question centers around whether or not drivers must submit to a breathalyzer—a tool that measures the amount of alcohol in a sample of breath, known as the blood alcohol content (BAC)—during a DUI traffic stop. The following information may prove beneficial if you find yourself involved in a DUI traffic stop.

Illinois Implied Consent

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Posted on in DUI Defense

DuPage County, Illinois DUI defense attorney, DUI traffic stopAfter a night out involving a couple of adult beverages, the last thing anyone wants to see is police lights in his or her rear view mirror. The realization is a quick “buzz kill,” even if the “buzz” emanates from the feel-good time of a joyful night out rather than any alcohol. Rest assured that a DUI stop does not immediately mean the end of the world.

Like those before you, you will have your day in court to defend yourself. With a credible case, you may see that your charges are dismissed or reduced. However, there are steps you can take, both during and immediately following a traffic stop, that can help make the situation easier on you later.

Probable Cause 

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thc marijuana laws in illinois, DuPage County DUI defense lawyerIllinois has made significant strides toward more sensible marijuana regulations. Governor Quinn signed SB 2228 into law in 2016. With the signing of that bill, for the first time in Illinois, the courts did away with the "zero tolerance" policy regarding the operation of a vehicle while having Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a person's system.

The way the law operates today is comparable to how the state regulates drinking and driving. In contrast to the way the old law worked where any presence of THC in a person's system was enough for a marijuana DUI conviction, the law now considers a tiered-based system. For example, the law mandates that someone is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle with more than 5 ng of THC per ml of blood or 10 ng of THC per ml of any other bodily substance.

Is Buzzed Driving the Same as Stoned Driving?

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