Most people have a hard time understanding the intricacies involved in charges like DUI or Driving under the Influence. So it’s always a scary experience when you’re stopped and charged for drunk driving. But, US laws also allow you to work with a criminal defense attorney and defend yourself against the charges.
You need to follow the proper procedure in your state to defend yourself successfully. In this article, learn about the right DUI defense process for the state of Illinois.
DUI Laws in Illinois
Illinois follows a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) system to charge drivers with DUI. You’ll be arrested and charged with DUI if:
- Your BAC is at least 0.08%
- You were driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any intoxicating compound.
- Controlled substances were detected in the blood, urine, or other bodily substance samples.
- Your THC concentration was more than five nanograms.
The penalties you attract will depend on whether it is your first offense, second offense, or third offense. Greater concentration of alcoholic content in your body also attracts higher penalties.
If there is sufficient evidence, then a Country Attorney or City Attorney will file charges against the suspect.
Then the process goes through three phases, which are:
This is your first court appearance, where you’ll be briefed on the charges raised against you and your legal rights. You’ll be asked to enter a plea. In this phase, you need to plead not guilty to defend yourself against the charges.
In the second phase, the pretrial conference, the criminal defense attorney will file motions in the DUI court. You can file several motions, such as a motion to dismiss based on lack of evidence, a motion to obtain a preserved blood sample for testing, etc.
The third and final phase is the trial, where a jury will hear the argument from both sides to conclude. Most trials last between five days to two weeks.
Common Defenses to DUI Charges
There are more than 30 ways to challenge a DUI charge in Illinois. But the three most common ones are:
Improper Field Sobriety Test
The police officers conduct field sobriety tests after stopping a vehicle for suspicion of drunk driving. Walk-and-turn, nystagmus test, and one-leg stand are the common tests. But these tests leave a lot of room for error. You can challenge the accuracy of the sobriety test and put together a solid defense by hiring a criminal defense attorney.
Inaccurate Breath or Blood Test
You can challenge the findings in the blood sample report or breath testing report. The test results can differ by 50% if the machine has not been appropriately calibrated or interprets particular food as alcoholic content. Thus, you challenge and reduce the BAC percentage and consequently the penalties.
Miranda Warnings were Violated
When making arrests, police officers have to convey the Miranda Warnings to the defendant. Otherwise, prosecutors will be prohibited from using the statements of the defendant made while in custody.
You can challenge that the police failed to read out the Miranda Warnings. And thus, all the statements you give, which are used against you, do not hold ground.
As soon as you’re charged or arrested, you should hire a criminal defense attorney for your case. Seek their expertise and challenge the DUI charges raised against you.