Thirty people die every day in the United States in drunk-driving crashes, or one person every 48 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2018, alcohol-related crashes caused 10,511 deaths.
Last year in Illinois, 309 people died in drunk-driving crashes, accounting for 30% of all traffic fatalities, despite representing a decrease of 5.4% from 2017. In addition to hundreds of deaths, thousands more are injured in alcohol-related accidents.
What does a DUI arrest look like?
For an officer to charge you with DUI, you must be pulled over at a roadside safety check area, or the officer must have probable cause, reasonable suspicion or observe any unusual operation of the vehicle. Once you are stopped:
- The officer will ask for your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, and attempt to find any visible signs that you are intoxicated
- If the officer suspects you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will ask you to submit to field sobriety tests, including a breath test
- If the officer finds probable cause, you will be placed under arrest and taken to the police station and asked to submit to further chemical testing
- If you refuse to submit to testing, your driver’s license will be suspended, and you will be charged with failing to submit to Illinois’ implied consent law
- Once charged for a first offense, you will receive a receipt allowing you to drive for 45 days – suspensions for those with a valid driver’s license begin on day 46
- You must post bond and may be held in jail until it is paid
Mounting a defense against DUI
Your first step should be to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney here in Illinois. Just because you are charged does not mean you are guilty. In many cases, charges are reduced or dropped by questioning the integrity of the testing, or the officer’s abilities to perform them. Common defenses include:
- Improper stop: The officer did not have probable cause to pull you over in the first place
- Testing inaccuracies: The officer inadequately performed the tests, or the results were due to medications or health conditions
- Faulty equipment: The device used for breath testing was not correctly calibrated, or the officer was not properly trained to administer the test
- Rising BAC: Your attorneys can claim that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was under the legal limit at the time you were stopped
Avoid devastating consequences
A drunk-driving conviction can result in significant and long-lasting impacts on you and your family. Even a first-time conviction can force you to spend time in jail, pay thousands of dollars in fines and fees, result in lost wages and driving privileges as well as increased insurance rates, which can double or triple. An experienced defense attorney here in Illinois will protect your rights and fight to have the charges dropped or reduced.