Defending against a DUI is never easy, but there are many effective strategies used by criminal defense attorneys to protect their clients in court. As a result, many DUI charges are reduced or dropped entirely.
The first DUI defense Illinois attorneys often use relates to the initial traffic stop. In order for an officer to stop a driver, they must have cause to do so. That means that the officer must have reasonable suspicion that the driver has committed, or is about to commit, a crime. The officer may stop a driver for violating a traffic law, driving too fast or too slow, or driving erratically. If the driver was stopped but was not breaking any traffic laws at the time and exhibited no signs of intoxication, the initial stop may have been improper.
If the officer has enough reason to suspect a driver of driving while intoxicated, the officer may ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests, as well as chemical testing. Many DUI defenses relate to the administration of these tests and the accuracy of the results. For instance, the officer may administer the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, where the driver is asked to follow a pen back and forth with their eyes, without moving their head. However, many officers fail to properly administer the test by not holding the pen the right distance from the driver’s face or by administering the test in an area where there are other lights in the driver’s field of vision. When an officer is not properly trained to administer the test or does not follow protocol when administering the test, the results may be affected.
Another common defense has to do with the Breathalyzer test. The device used for the test must be properly calibrated and the test must be administered properly by the officer. Vomiting, indigestion and other factors may also affect the results of the test. Another issue is that the test may have been administered long after the traffic stop, which could result in a higher blood alcohol concentration once the alcohol absorbs into the system. Defense attorneys question these factors and the validity of chemical test results when defending their clients.
Drivers with alcohol in their system at the time of a traffic stop can still defend against DUI charges. If you need assistance, consider speaking with a DUI defense attorney.