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Reacting to a DUI Traffic StopEvery year, more than 20,000 people in Illinois are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. In a significant percentage of those cases, the party arrested is ultimately convicted of driving under the influence. While many people assume that a conviction is inevitable after they have been pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving, that is factually incorrect. In reality, your actions while and after being pulled over can dramatically impact the likelihood of a conviction. Below we will examine how you should react to a DUI traffic stop. 

Steps You Should Take During a Traffic Stop

Seeing red and blue lights behind your vehicle is no enjoyable experience, but your ability to have some emotional fortitude can be the ultimate difference between potential jail-time and no criminal charges at all. Here are a few steps you should take during the arrest process. 

  1. Pull Over Safely: The worst thing you can do as you are getting pulled over is to make the situation worse by pulling over in an unsafe manner. Pulling over at high speeds can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and potentially lead to an accident. Pulling over on a blind turn or on a bridge can make it more difficult for other vehicles to avoid you and the officer. If you pull over in an unsafe manner, not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you are likely prompting more suspicion from the officer. 
  2. Do Not Panic: Remaining calm is one of the most important things you can do during a traffic stop. Panicking will likely lead to perspiration or tremors, which can lead to suspicions of illegal activity from the officer. Most importantly, though, panic can lead to erratic or aggressive behavior, limiting your ability to fight against a charge in court. Keep your emotions in check and let your attorney do the rest. 
  3. Understand Your Rights: If an officer asks for you to take a breath test, you have the right to decline. If an officer tells you that you would be breaking the law by not taking the test, they are either deceiving you or unaware of the laws in Illinois. While declining a breath test will result in loss of driving privileges for one year, it is not a criminal offense. Understanding your rights can be the most important step you take during a DUI traffic stop. 
  4. Try to Remember the Events: If you are in fact arrested by an officer, it is important to be able to analyze the arrest process with your attorney. If the officer forced you to give a breath sample, was verbally or physically abusive, or failed to read you your Miranda rights prior to questioning in police custody, your attorney will have a strong defense case in court. 

Contact an Oak Brook DUI Defense Attorney

At McMahon Law Offices, we understand just how traumatic a DUI stop can be. Whether you have been mistreated or charged with a DUI, it is time to seek out quality legal assistance. Our attorneys are dedicated to building a quality defense case for all of our clients, in the hopes of avoiding a conviction. If a conviction is ultimately unavoidable, we will do everything in our power to lessen the charges and help you regain your driving privileges as soon as possible. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with a skilled DuPage County criminal defense attorney, call us today at 630-953-4400. 

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The Benefits of Cooperating During a DUI Traffic Stop When a person is pulled over at night, it is common to feel a little panicked. Tensions can be escalated when a police officer asks whether or not you have been drinking. While many people are told that it is always best to deny that you have been drinking regardless of your alcohol consumption and refuse all chemical testing, we will examine some of the benefits of open cooperation with the law enforcement official. In the event that you are charged with driving under the influence, seek out the assistance of a legal professional immediately. 

Why Cooperation Can Help 

First and foremost, it is important to understand the ramifications of denying chemical testing. Many people carry a common misconception that if they simply do not blow, they will not face consequences. That assertion is incorrect. Yes, refusing chemical testing is not grounds for a DUI charge, but you will lose your driving privileges. In Illinois, a first-time chemical test refusal will result in a 12-month license suspension. A subsequent refusal to take part in chemical testing within a five year period of the first refusal will result in a license suspension of three years. 

Cooperating with an officer can also be critical in the event that you are charged with driving under the influence. If an officer testifies that you were friendly, cooperative, and polite, you may be looking at a less significant charge. In some cases, an officer may display signs of aggression towards a person that refuses to cooperate, leading to a drawn-out court process. Lastly, if you have not been drinking, your best option may be to cooperate, take a breath test if requested, and move forward. 

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Examining the Most Probable Causes for a DUI Traffic Stop When a police officer is patrolling the streets at night, they are on the lookout for all types of criminal activity. While surveying other drivers, they are most cautious of inebriated drivers. While a police officer may presume that almost every driver on the road at 2 a.m. is possibly under the influence, they are not able to pull over a driver for a traffic stop without a legitimate reason. Below, we examine the most common reasons why people are pulled over for DUI traffic stops.  

Likely Reasons for a DUI Stop

Once a police officer has pulled you over, it is likely that they will be looking for signs of inebriation. While you are not legally obligated to engage in conversation with the officer (simply offer them the necessary documents they need to process your driving information), the officer will be able to gather further information regarding your potential levels of intoxication, simply based on coming into contact with you. For instance, an officer will immediately look at a person’s eyes, smell their clothes and breath, and listen for signs of slurred speech. Because this process of gaining evidence can be critical in a DUI arrest, it is important to understand that a police officer is not legally allowed to pull you over unless you are violating traffic laws.  

The most common reasons people are pulled over in DUI traffic stops include:

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How to Safely React to a DUI Traffic Stop It is common to panic when you are pulled over on the suspicion that you may be driving under the influence of alcohol. Seeing those red and blue lights behind your vehicle can spark a wide array of emotions. As you prepare to pull over and speak with the law enforcement official, it is important to remain calm and operate your vehicle in a safe manner. If you are charged with a DUI, you still have a number of options at your disposal. Speaking with a qualified defense attorney can help you in finding the best course of action, moving forward. 

Remain Calm, Stay Safe

According to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, the vast majority of DUI arrests occur between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., on weekends. When officers are patrolling at night, they are likely prone to take increased precautions due to the amount of night-time criminal activity and their lack of visibility. Below are three tips you should follow if you are pulled over:

  1. Find a Safe Place to Stop: Once the officer turns on their lights, indicating that they have noticed unusual or negligent vehicle operation, it is important for you to find a safe place to pull over. While you should try to pull over in a timely fashion, safety is the top priority. Avoid pulling over at a curve in the road or in a place with a limited shoulder. If necessary, safely pull into a parking lot. Recognize the fact that other vehicles may not be aware of the traffic stop, and avoid the temptation to come to a sudden stop.
  2. Remain Calm and Respectful: As the officer approaches your vehicle, you need to remain composed. Do not leave the vehicle, and make sure that both your hands are visibly resting on the steering wheel. Avoid making sudden movements, and only remove your hands when the officer requests your driver’s license or insurance information. The manner in which you speak to the officer can go a long way in your case. By remaining calm and speaking to the officer in a respectful manner, you are ensuring that the situation will not escalate, and your cooperation may be useful in a courtroom setting.
  3. Know Your Options: While it is important to be respectful, it is also important to know your rights. If the officer asks you to take part in chemical testing, it is not mandatory for you to comply. Refusing to take part in chemical testing is not a criminal offense. While you will face an automatic one-year license suspension, you may avoid a DUI charge on your permanent record. If you have any questions regarding your options in the event of a traffic stop, we would be happy to answer them. 

Contact an Oak Brook DUI Defense Lawyer

In the event of a charge, the first step you should take is hiring a defense attorney that you can believe in. Even if you refuse chemical testing and are simply cited for a statutory summary suspension, a quality lawyer can ensure that you secure a restricted driving permit (RDP). In the event of a DUI charge, it is important to take the charges incredibly seriously. Even a first-time DUI conviction can result in substantial fines, a mark on your driving record, and difficulty securing housing and employment opportunities. 

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