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Chicago Criminal Law Firm Defending Your Rights

DUI Overview

If you have been charged with DUI there is hope. The law firm of Giovannini & Olshansky has been fighting driving under the influence of alcohol or drug charges since 1975. To properly fight a DUI charge you need a skilled attorney with the experience and expertise to look at every aspect of the case. Over the years we have defended hundreds of DUI cases.

The Illinois DUI laws have various penalties such as potential jail times, fines, and lengths of suspension or revocation of driving privileges. Please visit the Penalties, Suspension Period, Term of Revocation, and License Reinstatement sections of this website for more specific details.

At Giovannini & Olshansky we look at every possible angle and defense to your DUI. We will examine whether the arrest was based on an illegal stop. Whether the police officer had probable cause for your detention, or a basis to believe that you were in actual control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unlawful detentions and unreasonable suspicions and beliefs can lead to the evidence that was collected to be suppressed and made unusable against you at trial. The reason for the initial stop is always in question, along with what occurred after the stop and the procedures that the officer followed.

Conditions outside the control of the accused need to be examined, such as the weather. Bad weather conditions may establish poor driving ability that could explain the reason for the initial stop, or why the accused performed poorly during any field sobriety test. Low visibility, high winds, and extreme weather conditions may explain poor balance or erratic driving. Problems with knees, legs, arms, neck, back, and eyes can affect the results and validity of breath tests and field sobriety tests.

The original offense that brings the officer’s attention to your vehicle must be investigated. Observations by the officer such as weaving within your own lane without crossing any lines is not a violation of the law, and a vehicle cannot be stopped for that reason. Reports by an anonymous citizen that were driving drunk does not allow a car to be stopped simply because that anonymous citizen reported that the driver was drunk. There are often technical problems with the tickets written by the officer about the initial stop that may allow dismissal.

In squad car cameras are becoming more common along with video surveillance at the booking station. Often the arresting officer’s testimony will contradict what appears in the videos. These videos will be examined to determine if there was slurred speech, swaying, difficulty walking, and other physical observations that would support a finding of not guilty and contradict the officer’s testimony and reports.

The Standard Field Sobriety Testing, such as the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg-stand test are not always accurate indicators of being under the influence of alcohol. The officer that administers the tests must have completed training and be able to articulate the current standards and accuracy of the tests. If the officer doesn’t properly administer or instruct an individual during the tests they can be deemed invalid indicators of intoxication. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration have set standards that need to be followed. The officer needs to be questioned regarding his knowledge of these standards.

During a DUI arrest a breath, urine, or blood test will be offered to the alleged offender. Just because someone submitted to the test does not mean that that test will lead to conviction. The circumstances that lead to a person taking a breath or blood test need to be questioned. Any misleading statement by the police regarding the consequences of taking or refusing a blood, breath, or urine test can cause any suspension to be reversed and removed from the driver’s record, and suppressing the results at trial. Also, the device that was used needs to be examined for accuracy, maintenance, calibrations, malfunctions, and the operator needs to be certified with a current operator’s license. Breathalyzer tests are not fool proof. The machines can be inaccurate for a number of reasons. The same goes for blood draws. In Illinois the officer may subject a person to a blood draw if there is an accident that leads to a personal injury. The procedure and method of the blood draw needs to be questioned, along with the person, doctor or nurse, that drew the specimen, and the chain of custody and preservation of the specimen before it is submitted to a lab. On occasion a breathalyzer will be used at the scene of the arrest. The devices are called portable breathalyzers or “PBT”s. Generally, the results of the PBT device will not be admitted against the defendant at trial. Further, many items contain forms of alcohol which may cause false results, such as asthma spray, cough drops, paints, fingernail polish, working around chemicals or paint. These items can cause the breath results to be invalid. There are many factors involved in the technology and procedures of the physical and medical testing; if the tests were done improperly it is likely that they will not be used against the accused.

Another consideration for anyone accused of a DUI is their ability to call witnesses on their own behalf. Often there are independent witness to the events before the DUI arrest, such as people the accused was with, or witnesses to the arrest, such as people who were in the vehicle with the accused or that saw the arrest taking place. There can be bartenders, hospital personnel, or just passersby that may relate exculpatory evidence about the arrest. The defendant also has the ability to call expert witnesses to review and challenge the validity of breath, blood, and field sobriety tests.

The consequences of a DUI conviction can be sever, including loss of license, employment, fines, and even jail. You need a law firm that knows how to get results. If you are charged with DUI please call for a free consultation.

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