When you are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Illinois, it is extremely important to have a defense strategy in place. Under Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/11-501), a person can be found guilty of a DUI under a number of different circumstances. Most often, a person is charged with and convicted of a DUI if that individual has a BAC of 0.08 or higher or is under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance.
Given that each DUI case has its own set of facts, it is important to work with a Chicago DUI defense attorney on the best defense strategy for your case. At the same time, there are a number of common defenses to DUI charges in Illinois, and we want to say more about them. The following is a list of five common defense strategies used in DUI cases.
Unlawful Search or Seizure Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
In order for a stop for a DUI or a search (which includes taking a breath or blood test) upon suspicion of a DUI, the law enforcement official must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause, respectively, under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If there was no reasonable suspicion or probable cause, your Constitutional rights may have been violated. A Constitutional violation can be a strong defense in a DUI case.
Inaccurate Field Sobriety Test
In order to accurately determine sobriety based on a field sobriety test, law enforcement officers must be properly trained. Even with property training, field sobriety tests cannot always accurately measure a person’s level of intoxication.
Improperly Functioning Breathalyzer Machine
Like other machines, breathalyzer tests can malfunction. When a breathalyzer tests malfunctions, it can produce inaccurate results that show a higher BAC than what you actually had at the time of the test. For example, a defendant in a recent Illinois Appellate Court case successfully argued that the results of his breath test should not be admitted into evidence because the electronic certification records used to prove the accuracy of the test “were insufficient to certify the proper functioning of the breathalyzer machine.”
Mishandled or Contaminated Blood Test
Blood tests can be easily mishandled or contaminated. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune discussed how Chicago law enforcement officials are relying on blood tests much more frequently when drivers refuse a breathalyzer. With extensive use of blood tests, the article notes that emergency room staff members tasked with blood draws could be overly burdened, implying that the accuracy of tests could be at stake.
Rising Alcohol or Rising BAC
Even if a breathalyzer or blood test was properly administered and showed that you had a BAC of 0.08% or higher after being stopped for a DUI, you may be able to argue that “rising alcohol” was the reason. Rising alcohol refers to the way in which alcohol is absorbed into the body, and you may not have had a BAC of 0.08% or higher at the time you were actually driving. Rather, rising alcohol—while you were sitting, stopped by the law enforcement official—could have resulted in a higher BAC than your actual BAC at the time you were on the road.
Contact a Chicago DUI Defense Attorney as Soon as Possible
The moment you are arrested for and charged with a DUI, it is essential to have a DUI defense attorney in Chicago on your side. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus to learn more about how we can help with your case.