Many people who are accused of driving under the influence1 (DUI) in Illinois may believe that their case is “open and shut” and that they should simply just plead guilty and move on with their lives. After all, in many DUI investigations, people perform poorly on field sobriety tests2, submit to chemical testing of their blood or breath, or otherwise provide law enforcement with evidence tending to show that they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In order to obtain a DUI conviction, the state must prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest burden of proof available in the American legal system. In addition, any procedural errors made by law enforcement during a DUI investigation may result in the exclusion of evidence critical to the state’s case. As a result, there are often many defenses that a skilled Chicago DUI defense attorney can raise in a DUI case. Four of the most common are detailed below.
Challenging the reliability of breathalyzer tests
A breathalyzer is a device that purports to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream by analyzing a sample of their breath. There are many ways that the results of a breathalyzer test may be challenged, including introducing evidence that the device was not properly calibrated or that the officer administering the test was not properly trained on how to use the device.
Challenging the reason for the initial stop
The 4th Amendment3 of the United States Constitution requires that law enforcement officers have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring in order to pull someone over. While this is generally a very low standard, law enforcement must still be able to articulate a reason that a particular person was stopped. If no reasonable suspicion existed to stop a driver, any evidence gathered after the stop may be inadmissible in a DUI case, likely forcing the state to drop its case.
Alternative explanation for signs of intoxication
A police report regarding a DUI arrest will almost undoubtedly indicate that the suspect had bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, flushed skin, and an unsteady gait. While this may be signs that a person is under the influence of alcohol, they also may be caused by certain medical conditions, such as allergies, illness, fatigue, or eye irritation.
Contact a Chicago DUI defense attorney today to schedule a free consultation
Whether these or other defenses will be available in your DUI case depends on a number of factors. An experienced DUI defense lawyer conduct a thorough analysis of the facts of your case and determine whether what defenses may be applicable to your case. To schedule a free consultation with Illinois attorney Nenye Uche, call our office today at (888) 251-4428.