How to Handle Yourself When Pulled Over for Suspicion of Driving Under the Influence in Illinois

Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C.

Being pulled over by the police is always a stressful experience, especially if it’s for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). Knowing how to handle yourself in this situation can significantly impact the outcome of your case. In this blog article, we will guide you through the steps to take when pulled over, the relevant statutes, the criminal justice case process in Illinois for DUI, and common defenses against these charges. Additionally, we will discuss the importance of having a qualified attorney and why you should consider Attorney David L. Freidberg for your defense.

Statute and Relevant Statutes

In Illinois, DUI offenses are primarily governed by 625 ILCS 5/11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. This statute outlines the definitions, penalties, and procedures related to driving under the influence. Under this statute, a person can be charged with DUI if they operate a vehicle:

  • With a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
  • Under the influence of alcohol to the degree that it renders them incapable of driving safely.
  • Under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of compounds to the degree that it renders them incapable of driving safely.
  • Under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to the degree that it renders them incapable of driving safely.
  • With any amount of a controlled substance in their blood, urine, or other bodily substances.

Relevant legal definitions include:

  • Actual Physical Control: Being in a position to operate the vehicle, which can include sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition, even if the vehicle is not moving.
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): The measure of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. Illinois law sets the legal limit at 0.08% for drivers aged 21 and over, 0.04% for commercial drivers, and any detectable amount for drivers under 21.
  • Implied Consent: Under Illinois’ implied consent law (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1), drivers automatically consent to chemical testing of their breath, blood, or urine when suspected of DUI. Refusal to submit to testing can result in an automatic license suspension.

The Criminal Justice Case Process in Illinois for DUI

The DUI criminal justice process in Illinois involves several stages, each critical to the overall outcome of your case.

  1. Initial Traffic Stop: The process begins when an officer pulls you over, typically due to observed driving behavior that suggests impairment, such as swerving, speeding, or running a red light. The officer will make observations about your appearance, behavior, and speech.
  2. Field Sobriety Tests: If the officer suspects DUI, you may be asked to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs). These tests assess your physical and cognitive abilities and include the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test.
  3. Chemical Testing: Based on the results of the FSTs, the officer may request a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine to measure your BAC. Refusal to take these tests can result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
  4. Arrest and Booking: If the officer determines there is probable cause for DUI, you will be arrested and taken to the police station for booking. This process includes fingerprinting, photographing, and formally charging you with DUI.
  5. Statutory Summary Suspension: Upon arrest for DUI, your driver’s license may be subject to a statutory summary suspension, which takes effect 46 days after the notice of suspension is issued. You have the right to challenge this suspension by requesting a hearing within 45 days.
  6. Arraignment: At the arraignment, you will appear in court, and the charges against you will be formally read. You will have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
  7. Pre-Trial Motions and Discovery: Your attorney may file pre-trial motions to challenge the evidence against you, such as the legality of the traffic stop or the validity of the chemical tests. Discovery involves exchanging information and evidence between the defense and prosecution.
  8. Trial: If your case goes to trial, both sides will present evidence and arguments. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence. Your attorney will challenge the prosecution’s evidence and present defenses.
  9. Sentencing: If convicted, the court will impose a sentence based on factors such as your BAC, prior DUI offenses, and any aggravating circumstances (e.g., causing an accident or having a child in the car). Penalties can include fines, jail time, community service, alcohol education programs, and license suspension.
  10. Appeals: If you are convicted, you have the right to appeal the decision. An appeal is a review of the trial process to determine if legal errors were made that could have affected the outcome.

Common Defenses Against DUI Charges

Several defenses can be employed to fight DUI charges effectively. The best defense strategy will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.

  1. Improper Stop: The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. If the officer did not have a valid reason to stop your vehicle, any evidence obtained during the stop may be inadmissible in court.
  2. Inaccurate Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are not always reliable indicators of impairment. Factors such as medical conditions, fatigue, or environmental conditions can affect your performance on these tests.
  3. Faulty Breathalyzer Tests: Breathalyzer devices must be properly calibrated and maintained to produce accurate results. Your attorney can challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer test if there were issues with its calibration, maintenance, or administration.
  4. Rising BAC: Alcohol takes time to absorb into the bloodstream. Your BAC could have been below the legal limit while you were driving but rose to an illegal level by the time the test was administered.
  5. Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as acid reflux or diabetes, can affect breathalyzer results. Your attorney can present evidence showing that a medical condition influenced your test results.
  6. Lack of Probable Cause: If the officer did not have probable cause to believe you were under the influence, the arrest and any subsequent evidence may be challenged.
  7. Violation of Miranda Rights: If you were not read your Miranda rights upon arrest, any statements you made may be inadmissible in court.

Why Defendants for DUI Charges Need an Attorney

Facing DUI charges without legal representation is risky and can result in severe penalties. An experienced DUI attorney can:

  • Protect Your Rights: Ensure that your constitutional rights are upheld throughout the legal process.
  • Challenge the Prosecution’s Evidence: Identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and challenge the admissibility of evidence.
  • Negotiate Plea Deals: Work with the prosecution to negotiate favorable plea deals that may reduce charges or penalties.
  • Provide Expert Guidance: Offer advice and support to help you make informed decisions about your case.

Why Choose The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg

The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg brings decades of experience and a proven track record of success in defending clients against DUI charges. Our team is dedicated to providing the highest level of defense, leveraging our extensive legal knowledge and resources to protect your driving privileges and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. We understand the severe consequences of a DUI conviction and are committed to fighting for your rights every step of the way.

Call to Action

If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, it is crucial to seek experienced legal representation immediately. The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg offers a free consultation 24/7 to discuss your case and provide the guidance you need. Contact us at (312) 560-7100 or toll-free at (800) 803-1442. We serve clients throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Will County, and Lake County in Illinois. Protect your driving privileges and ensure a strong defense by contacting The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg today.

Contact Us

  1. 1 Available 24/7
  2. 2 Free Consultation
  3. 3 Effective and Persuasive Defense
Fill out the contact form or call us at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442 to schedule your free consultation.

Leave Us a Message