Driving under the influence (DUI) charges affect thousands of people every year in Illinois. You could find yourself charged with a DUI after an individual traffic stop or after some kind of crash involving your vehicle. Even if all you do is clip a mailbox and no one gets hurt, the police could still arrest you.
Although many people are quick to plead guilty to a pending DUI because they assume they can’t defend themselves, that simply isn’t true. Quite a few people accused of impaired driving did not actually break the law and may be in a position to defend themselves.
The following two tactics are arguably the most common approaches to DUI defense.
Showing that the traffic stop was inappropriate
Police officers don’t have the authority to randomly stop vehicles and question drivers. They need to have a good reason to conduct a traffic stop and then probable cause to request chemical testing or conduct an arrest.
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is to ask an officer why they pulled you over as soon as they approach your vehicle. If they don’t have a good answer that involves an observed violation of the law, the traffic stop may be a violation of your right.
If you can prove that the officer didn’t have justification for stopping your vehicle, any evidence gathered during the traffic stop may not hold up in court.
Challenging the accuracy of the chemical breath test
You may have readily submitted to a field sobriety test and then a breath test during the traffic stop because you knew you weren’t drunk. Unfortunately, the officer claimed that you failed the test and arrested you. You may find yourself questioning your own memories because you didn’t have anything to drink and you assume the test must be right.
The truth is that chemical breath testing is prone to many kinds of errors and mistakes. Anything from unusual dietary practices to asthma medication could mean that your results aren’t accurate. It’s also possible that the officer might make a mistake while administering the test or may have failed to update software, maintain the device or calibrate it frequently.
If you have reason to challenge the accuracy of the breath test or the validity of a traffic stop, it may be much harder for this date to convict you of a DUI. Considering your situation can help you determine whether either of these strategies or a different approach is the right way to defend yourself against pending DUI charges.