Driving under influence can have a broad range of consequences for a person. In most cases, the first or second DUI offense is treated as a misdemeanor and the person is set free with penalties, fines, and/or license suspension.
For people with subsequent DUI offenses or those who end up causing an accident, the penalties are harsher and the offender may be tried for a Class 4 felony. The judge may also decide to revoke the driver’s license. This can have severely negative consequences for the offender limiting their options to drive. A DUI conviction also results in a criminal record for the defendant.
Legal Options in A DUI Arrest
DUI charges may be tricky to contest in court because the evidence can be difficult to disprove. People under the influence are often not able to think straight and make confessions to the police that can make their case very difficult to defend later.
Many people are not aware of their legal options in a DUI arrest. It is a common practice for the law enforcement officers to lie to defendants and tell them that it is in their best interests to confess to drunk driving. Officers often inform defendants that their tests have already come forward showing that they were drunk while driving and confessing to the offense will reduce their punishment.
This is actually not true. Field sobriety and Breathalyzer tests can often be inaccurate. Even blood tests are subject to tampering and can be challenged in court. However, a confession to DUI can make the case very difficult to defend for the suspect.
If you are arrested on the charge of drunk driving, the first thing you should do is keep quiet. Ask the arresting officer to call your lawyer or call someone to arrange a lawyer for you. Do not confess to any wrongdoing and wait for your lawyer to arrive before speaking to the officers.
Legal Defenses to DUI
The legislation has a clear definition for what constitutes drunk driving in most states. In order to be considered drunk, a person must have a certain percentage of alcohol on their breath or in their blood. For example, the percentage of alcohol present on a person’s breath is 0.08% in Illinois. If the percentage of alcohol on your breath is less than 0.08%, you cannot be arrested for DUI in that state.
Breathalyzer tests are subject to inaccuracies. Your lawyer can challenge an officer’s administration of Breathalyzer test or question if the device was properly calibrated.
An arrest made on DUI can also be challenged if the stop and search was illegal to begin with. The law-enforcing officer must show probable cause before they can force a driver to stop and arrest them. If the driver did not break any laws and was driving in line with traffic rules, the charges of DUI can be dismissed even if the defendant was actually drunk.
The defense counsel can also challenge the results of a blood test if there are dubious questions about its chain of custody.
For DUI charges to hold, it is necessary that the driver should have been driving the vehicle. If a person is in a parked vehicle, the officer cannot arrest him/her because the vehicle is not in motion. The officer can still charge them for public drinking, which is prohibited in most states.