If you’re arrested for DUI in Illinois, you are facing a lot of stress and fear of losing your license, paying excessive fines or spending time in jail. Choosing a skilled DUI lawyer in Cook County can make all the difference.
A skilled lawyer can challenge all aspects of a DUI case including the accuracy of breathalyzer tests, field sobriety test results and violations of police policies. This ability is gained through years of experience.
Failed Breathalyzer Tests
Having the right Dui Attorney Cook County on your side is essential. The evidence used by the prosecutor against you can be challenged. Failed breathalyzer tests are not necessarily conclusive and can be successfully fought in court.
If the police didn’t observe you for 15 minutes prior to administering a breath test, this could result in the breathalyzer results being thrown out. Other issues could also arise regarding the procedure that police are required to follow. If the checkpoint rules weren’t followed, this could also result in the DUI charge being dismissed.
The first thing that you should do when facing a DUI is to refuse the breath and chemical test. This can have a huge impact on your case, as it means that the prosecutor will have less evidence against you.
Inaccurate Breath Tests
Many outside factors can affect your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) estimate – and thus, whether you were over the legal limit at the time of driving. For example, mouthwashes and breath spray can contain alcohol, and this type of alcohol can cause a positive result on a Breathalyzer test.
Medical conditions can also skew breath test results. For example, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) allows alcohol to move back up the esophagus from the stomach, which can lead to a higher than accurate BAC reading.
It’s important to disclose all health issues to your DUI defense attorney, even if they seem unrelated to driving. These can include certain medications, reflux conditions, dental products and dietary habits that can affect the accuracy of your breath test.
Your attorney may be able to show that the machine was not properly calibrated or maintained, or that other evidence shows that you were not over the limit at the time of driving. This will help you avoid the harsh consequences of a DUI conviction.
Insufficient Probable Cause
When defending DUI cases, your criminal defense attorney needs to focus on challenging probable cause. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and so, police officers must have a good reason for pulling over someone or stopping them. If a Judge finds that the officer did not have probable cause, the case could be dismissed.
Probable cause is a vague and elusive concept and volumes of books, law articles, and judicial opinions have been written on it. Basically, probable cause exists when facts and circumstances known to the officer would lead him or her to believe that the suspect committed or is about to commit a specific crime.
For instance, weaving all over the road is a sign that could indicate alcohol or drug impairment. Likewise, poor performance on field sobriety tests can also be indicative of impairment.
Many drivers who cause accidents have both drugs and alcohol in their systems, making it difficult to know which substance caused the accident. Drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine can slow reaction time and impair judgment of time and distance. Certain prescription medications such as benzodiazepines and opioids can also cause drowsiness.
Regardless of which substance you were driving under the influence of, DUI charges carry severe penalties including jail time, hefty fines, license suspension, increased insurance rates and alcohol classes. Choosing the right DUI attorney will allow you to preserve your rights, drive legally and keep a clean record.
When choosing a Cook County DUI attorney, it is important to ask about their experience with DUI cases and how many they have taken to trial. Also, be sure to find out if they have ever been reprimanded or suspended from the bar association. Also, consider their fee arrangement. Do they charge a flat fee or hourly?