If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, it might feel like an impossible charge to overcome. You may be thinking that you should simply plead guilty rather than wasting your time trying to fend off an inevitable conviction. But you’d be surprised to learn that there are actually many ways of beating a DUI case in Illinois.
As is the case with all criminal matters, you are presumed innocent in a DUI case until you have been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If there have been any procedural flaws in your case, or if any of the evidence against you is in doubt, you stand a chance of beating a charge of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A few common defenses for DUI cases are:
- Inaccuracies or errors in breathalyzer tests
- Lack of probable cause for DUI stop
- Inaccurate blood alcohol tests
- Errors in field sobriety tests
Inaccuracies or Errors in Breathalyzer Tests
A breathalyzer test is involved in almost every DUI arrest in Illinois, as it’s the easiest way for the state to demonstrate guilt. However, these tests are not flawless. False readings may happen due to poor maintenance, improper calibration, or incorrect use by the officer administering the test. But even when the test is administered properly, they’re not always accurate. According to section 625 ILCS 5/11-501, a driver who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 is presumed to be intoxicated. But it’s important to remember that breathalyzers are not capable of measuring BAC directly. What they do is get a reading of the level of alcohol in the breath/lungs, then estimate the blood alcohol level by multiplying that reading by a certain ratio. The assumed ratio of breath alcohol to blood alcohol is 1:2100.
But studies have shown that ratios can vary greatly. This all depends on the many differences that exist in people’s bodies. As a result, even if the DUI breathalyzer is conducted as accurately as possible, there may be enough of a margin of error to suspect that BAC might have been lower than the legal 0.08 limit.
Lack of Probable Cause for DUI Stop
When a police officer pulls someone over for drunk driving, there needs to be reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the stop. This can include such behaviors such as exceeding the speed limit, running red lights or stop signs, or driving with what the NHTSA recognizes as driving impairment patterns.
Without probable cause for a traffic stop, your DUI defense lawyer may decide that filing a motion to suppress evidence is warranted. If the motion is granted, the judge will order that any evidence that was collected during an unwarranted search is to be excluded, which can make it much more likely that the court will dismiss your DUI.
Inaccurate Blood Alcohol Tests
Blood testing for BAC is subject to particular regulations and protocols to make certain that the results are accurate. There are several reasons that these tests can yield inaccurate readings. The time between when you provide the blood sample and when the analysis occurs can lead to decomposition or fermentation of the blood, which can actually create alcohol in the sample.
By filing a “blood split motion,” your DUI defense lawyer can find out how the sample was originally stored, learn how the first test was conducted, and get permission to test the remaining sample (as the crime lab is required to “split” the sample when it is first received just in case it later needs to be re-tested). If this testing reveals any errors in the process (or if there is no blood left to test), your attorney can move to exclude your blood test results from the evidence against you, thus helping your chances of beating your DUI charges.
Errors in Field Sobriety Tests
It’s common for police officers to conduct field sobriety tests in order to make a determination as to whether a driver is intoxicated. Yet, studies have shown that these tests are not entirely reliable. There are many factors that can lead to people performing poorly on field sobriety tests, such as restrictive clothing or footwear, being overweight, and poor weather conditions.
Contact an Experienced DUI Attorney Now
A DUI charge in Illinois is a serious matter, and a conviction can lead to both a criminal record and a restriction on your ability to live and work in certain places. The DUI attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC understand how stressful this can be. They also have the knowledge and experience you need to give you the best chance to beat the charge and get on with your life.