Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Serving Cook & DuPage Counties

Peter Wachowski – Best Chicago DUI Lawyers

If you’ve been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), there’s a reasonable chance some type of procedural error could get your case dismissed. Having an experienced lawyer can make a difference in whether the DUI sticks or gets dismissed. Peter Wachowski, Partner Bellas & Wachowski, has the experience and is rated as one of Chicago’s best DUI lawyers by Expertise.

DUI is a Serious Offense in Illinois

In Illinois, a DUI is taken very seriously. No matter what level of offense, your license can be revoked and a conviction will give you a criminal record. You can face jail time and incur substantial expenses (fines, court costs, increased insurance premiums, etc.). For any level of DUI, you should hire a DUI defense attorney in Park Ridge who can:

  • Seek to obtain a lesser punishment, such as rehabilitation.
  • Provide protection from the authorities who may try to get a confession.
  • Win an appeal to get your license back.
  • Secure critical evidence, like video footage, that will be destroyed or recorded over if not requested immediately.
  • Get charges dismissed if the police did not follow the proper procedures.

Illinois DUI Laws and Legal Support

  • License Suspension: After any DUI charge in Illinois, drivers will get a mandatory license suspension for a period from three months to two years. A DUI lawyer can appear before the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and request a hearing to get your license back. If that fails, first offenders may obtain a Judicial Driving Permit license that can be used while the offender’s regular license is suspended.
  • First Offense: For those in which the DUI is a first offense, it’s almost always considered a misdemeanor and with this, an experienced DUI lawyer can pursue court supervision versus a conviction. Once the specified period of court supervision is completed, charges are dismissed.
  • Multiple Offenses: As with first offenses, a second DUI also may result in a misdemeanor but,  third offenses typically end in felony charges. If convicted of a felony, offenders can get a sentence of 364 days in jail and fines up to $2,500. On top of this, if convicted, your license will be revoked for a mandatory period of 1-year. A DUI lawyer will need to work very hard and judiciously to prevent you from being convicted of a felony.
  • Under 21 Years Old: If the offender is a minor, a DUI charge will result in a  two-year license revocation for first-time offenders. DUI lawyers in Park Ridge can obtain a restricted permit allowing minors to drive from 5 AM to 9 PM.

DUI Test Results Margins of Error

When police officers suspect someone of drunk driving, they will ask the person to perform certain tests to prove suspicion (field sobriety tests (FSTs) and chemical testing). To prove a DUI, the prosecution will rely on the arresting officer’s observations of the driver (slurred speech and failed field sobriety tests). With a per se DUI charge, the focus is on the amount of alcohol in the driver’s system. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more are deemed per se under the influence. Proving a per se DUI charge involves producing chemical-test results showing the driver was above the legal limit.

All methods to gather evidence of alcohol have some margin of error and are suspect if not properly administered (human error or procedures not being followed). Because of this, the value of the evidence is weaker and can be challenged.

  • Breath-Test Results
    • Barely above BAC: Modern breathalyzers are fairly accurate. However, they’re not perfect, and not following proper procedures when using a breathalyzer can lead to significant errors. All breath-test devices have an inherent margin of error and with many devices, the results can be off by as much as .01%. If a driver was just barely above the legal limit they may have a very good argument based on the margin of error and therefore, the prosecution can’t prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
    • Waiting Period: Breathalyzers are designed to measure the concentration of alcohol from the vapor in a person’s lungs. To get an accurate measurement, no alcohol can be present in the person’s mouth. Otherwise, the results will reflect a combination of the person’s lung and mouth alcohol leading to a higher BAC score. To avoid this issue, police officers are required to wait 15 to 20 minutes before giving the breathalyzer test. If the test were given before the waiting period, the accuracy of the test can come into question.
  • Blood-Test Results
    • Improper Storage: Blood not stored properly can ferment which can increase the alcohol concentration and cause a misleadingly higher BAC. Results could be thrown out if a blood sample is not properly stored.
    • Warrant Required: Implied consent laws impose license suspension for refusing to submit to DUI testing. However, the Supreme Court has said that because blood tests are so invasive they implicate a criminal defendant’s constitutional rights. Therefore, police generally need a warrant to require a blood test – if no warrant is obtained, results could be thrown out.
    • Rising blood alcohol: The human body metabolizes alcohol meaning it takes time for alcohol to absorb into the system to affect BAC. There’s always a time delay between when a motorist was driving and BAC testing takes place. The “rising-blood-alcohol” defense attempts to establish that the BAC was below the legal limit while driving but rose above the legal limit by the time the testing was conducted. Like most other BAC-related defenses, the rising-blood-alcohol defense tends to work best when your BAC is only marginally above the legal limit. And the defense typically requires the testimony of an expert with knowledge of alcohol metabolization.
  • Other Errors
    • The errors are greater for individuals who are elderly and those with certain health conditions/illnesses.
    • Since many tests examine physiological reactions, results may change even under stress.
    • Field test results are largely subjective and do not give numerical results, only relative, which may constitute grounds for contesting such a result. However, if three or more tests were run, the probability of a mistake is significantly reduced.

The most accurate test is one that examines the eye. In almost 80% of DUI cases, the person examined has a problem following sight with a finger.

DUI Legal Actions: Where to Start

If you refuse DUI testing you may have a better chance of avoiding punishment than someone who failed to resist. This is due to the weight of the evidence. In the first case, there are only the officer’s observations (the driver had problems with speech, balance, eyesight). In the second case, there’s test evidence (breathalyzer results) and therefore, the weight is bigger (observation plus actual test results).

Get Help with Your DUI Case Today

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact our Chicago DUI lawyer today and start preparing your defense to get the charges dismissed.

Contact us for a case review by calling 866-699-3339 ‌or‌ ‌complete‌ ‌the‌‌ ‌case‌ ‌request‌ ‌form‌.‌  

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    Park Ridge, IL 60068

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