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Category Archives: DUI

Wheaton Criminal Defense AttorneyThere are two main chemical tests used to determine a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). The first is a breath test, often called a breathalyzer, that determines blood alcohol based on the amount of alcohol on the test taker’s breath. The second is a blood test that directly determines the amount of alcohol in the subject’s blood. However, these tests are not infallible. False positives and inaccurate results can be caused by human error, improper storage, defective devices, and several other issues. If you or a loved one are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI), do not lose hope. You or your loved one may still be able to avoid conviction by discrediting the results of chemical BAC tests.

Understanding the Limits of Breath Alcohol Tests

If you have even been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you are probably familiar with the portable breathalyzer tests carried by police officers. These preliminary tests are used to create probable cause for a DUI arrest. However, the results of the preliminary breathalyzer are not admissible as evidence against the defendant in DUI proceedings. Typically, once an alleged drunk driver is taken to the police station, he or she is required to complete a second breath test on a device with greater accuracy. The results of this evidentiary breath test may be used as evidence in court. However, both evidentiary tests and preliminary tests can be unreliable.

Breathalyzers must be regularly calibrated and cleaned to yield accurate results. Improper test administration, conducting the test at the wrong time, and defects with the testing device may also lead to inaccurate results.  

Blood Alcohol Tests and DUI Charges in Illinois

Another way police may determine an alleged drunk driver’s BAC is through a blood test. Blood is drawn from the subject and analyzed to determine the amount of alcohol per unit of blood. However, blood alcohol tests may be faulty. There are several steps involved in blood testing. The technician must mix certain chemicals such as anticoagulants and preservatives into the sample. These chemicals must not be expired or mixed incorrectly. The blood sample must be properly identified and stored. The sample must also be free of contaminants like ethyl alcohol from an alcohol swab. Mistakes during the blood draw, blood sample storage, or analysis of the sample can discredit the blood test results making it much more difficult for the prosecution to prove that a driver was under the influence.

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Chicago DUI criminal defense attorney

A 58-year-old Illinois woman who has been charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence is not only facing the loss of her license and potential loss of freedom – she is also facing the loss of her vehicle via a civil forfeiture complaint. While many people are aware of police seizing the assets of people convicted of drug dealing and other illegal activities, is seizing the vehicle of a person who is accused of drunk driving legal under Illinois law?

BAC Four Times the Legal Limit

According to information released by law enforcement, on the night of September 14, a police officer noticed a vehicle take a right-hand turn, however, the driver failed to use their turn signal. The officer pulled the vehicle over. As he explained to the driver why he had stopped her, he noticed she had an open bottle of alcohol near her leg that she attempted to hide when the officer questioned her about it.

The driver did admit to the officer she had been drinking. The officer requested the woman step out of her vehicle, but the police report noted she had difficulty doing so. Attempts to perform field sobriety tests were noted as “very erratic and unable to follow directions.” At this point, the woman was brought to the police station and agreed to submit to a breathalyzer. Her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level registered 0.321. This is four times the legal limit under Illinois law.

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Wheaton criminal defense attorneysIf you were caught driving under the influence of alcohol in Illinois, your driver's license may have been suspended or revoked. Without a valid driver’s license, it becomes unlawful to drive a motor vehicle. Losing your ability to drive can be a massive inconvenience. Fortunately, Illinois drivers may be able to get relief through a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) or a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). These programs allow you to get back on the road legally. There is just one catch – you must install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your car. Many drivers wonder, “Is there a way to cheat a BAIID?”

How a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device Works

Driving under the influence of alcohol puts the driver’s life and the lives of others at risk. Consequently, Illinois state has instituted policies to prevent drunk driving. One of these rules is the BAIID requirement. Once a BAIID is installed in your vehicle, you must successfully pass a breath alcohol test to use the vehicle. You will need to blow into the mouthpiece and submit a breath sample before starting the car. The device will instantly analyze the sample for alcohol. If the BAIID detects even a very small amount of alcohol, your car will not start. If the device does not detect alcohol on your breath, your car will start up normally. You will be prompted to submit additional breath samples by blowing in the mouthpiece as you drive.

Hacking a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device

There are many rumors about alleged methods of hacking or tricking BAIIDS. Some people say that you can hold a penny in your mouth or eat certain foods to eliminate alcohol from your breath. Others suggest brushing your teeth or using mouthwash to conceal breath alcohol. These methods do not work. In fact, most mouthwashes contain alcohol, so using mouthwash or an alcohol-containing toothpaste will only worsen your situation.

Asking a non-drinking friend to blow into the device for you will also backfire. In 2013, the Illinois Secretary of State required all BAIIDs to be equipped with a camera. The device takes a picture each time a breath sample is submitted. Driving another person’s car to avoid using the BAIID can lead to additional criminal penalties. Driving without a valid license—and a suspended or revoked license is not a valid license—is  a Class A misdemeanor punishable by jail, community service, and heavy fines. If it is your second offense, driving on a suspended or revoked license is a Class 4 felony punishable by imprisonment, feels, and an extended suspension or revocation period.

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Wheaton DUI defense lawyerThe legal blood alcohol content limit for anyone operating a motor vehicle is 0.08 percent. Consequently, many motorists assume that an individual may only be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) if their blood alcohol content is above this limit. However, it is possible to be arrested for DUI even if you pass a breathalyzer test or refuse to take the test. If you have been arrested for DUI, knowing your rights regarding DUI-related traffic stops, breathalyzers, and blood tests is key to forming a strong defense against the charges.

Illinois Law Does Not Require a Failed Breath Test for a DUI Arrest

In Illinois, 0.08 percent BAC or higher is considered intoxicated “per se” or intoxicated by law. However, Illinois law does not require per se intoxication for a DUI arrest. The law states that it is illegal to be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of alcohol

  • Under the influence of an intoxicating compound that makes the driver unable to drive safely

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney felony DUI

All DUI charges are serious, and a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs can lead to the revocation of your driver’s license, the requirement to use an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, significant fines and legal fees, and even a prison sentence. However, you may face even more serious charges if you are accused of committing aggravated DUI, which is a felony offense.

Aggravating Factors in DUI Cases

In most cases, a first-time DUI or a second DUI will be charged as a misdemeanor. A third or subsequent DUI will be charged as a felony. A conviction will result in a 10-year driver’s license revocation for a third offense and a lifetime revocation for any subsequent offenses.

Felony DUI charges will also apply in cases involving aggravating factors such as:

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