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DuPage County criminal defense attorney DUI

Typically, Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous times of the year on our nation’s roadways. Those who get together with family and friends during the holiday often drink alcohol, and when combined with increased amounts of travel, this can lead to car accidents caused by drunk driving. Things may be somewhat different in 2020 since concerns about COVID-19 are leading many to stay at home and avoid large gatherings. However, a large number of people will still be engaging in holiday travel and get-togethers, and because of this, Illinois law enforcement officials will be on the lookout for drunk driving, and they will be prepared to arrest those who are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI).

Law Enforcement Efforts to Reduce Drunk Driving Deaths

Hundreds of traffic fatalities occur during the Thanksgiving holiday every year in the United States. Even with the extraordinary circumstances that have affected people’s lives in 2020, the National Safety Council (NSC) has estimated that nearly 500 people will lose their lives between Wednesday evening and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. To help prevent car accidents, the Illinois State Police and other local law enforcement agencies will be conducting increased safety patrols. These patrols will continue through Monday, November 30, and they are likely to lead to high numbers of DUI arrests.

A driver may be charged with DUI if he or she is found to be driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of .08 percent. In many cases, when police pull a driver over on suspicion of drunk driving, they will ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests or take a portable breath alcohol test. Motorists are allowed to refuse these tests, although doing so may give an officer probable cause to make an arrest.

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IL DUI lawyerYou have had a couple of drinks with dinner and are sure you are safe to drive home. However, the police seem to think otherwise and the next thing you know, you have their squad car lights flashing in your rear-view mirror. How are you going to talk your way out of this one possibly? Here are a few practices that have helped others avoid a DUI charge during a police traffic stop:

Use Your Right to Remain Silent

You have the right to remain silent, so use it. Too many times clients have tried to talk their way out of trouble, only to make it worse. Police know that if they pressure you to speak, you will often give them more evidence than you intend, which is why they keep the conversation going. Your silence will not be used against you. Politely say that you choose to use your right to remain silent and provide them with their requested documentation.

Refuse the Field Sobriety Test

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DuPage County DUI attorneys, field sobriety testsGetting pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence means that a police officer will take every opportunity he or she has to determine if you are driving drunk. From the moment an officer spots your vehicle, he or she will be gathering evidence that may be used to prove in court that you were driving under the influence. 

One way officers will attempt to determine your level of intoxication is through field sobriety tests. There are three types of field sobriety tests:

  1. Walk-and-Turn Test. In this test, officers have drivers walk heel to toe in a straight line and then have them pivot around asking them to walk in the other direction. An officer may also ask you to count your steps as you take them.
  2. One Legged Stand Test. An officer will ask a driver to stand on one leg with the other leg outstretched in front of the body. The driver will be required to hold this position without swaying or moving arms for balance.
  3. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test. When a person is intoxicated, his or her eyes will involuntarily jerk as they focus on a moving object. In this test, an officer will have a driver follow a finger moving right and left watching for the jerking eye movements.

Field Sobriety Tests Are a Poor Measure of Impairment

There are a couple of problems with these field tests. First, a driver may not be able to complete these tasks acceptably when sober. Some people with or without health conditions find it hard to stand on one leg without losing balance. The nervousness that comes with any police interaction can also play a role.

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