Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the most common offenses for which Illinois residents face charges. Any criminal charge related to drunk driving can lead to substantial penalties and should be taken seriously. However, first-time DUIs are penalized less harshly than second, third, or subsequent DUI convictions. The consequences a person faces for DUI also depend on whether anyone was hurt or killed in an accident while the driver was under the influence.
Drunk driving is considered a felony offense if there are aggravating circumstances. Felony DUI is penalized severely, and someone convicted of felony DUI could face several years in prison. If you or a loved one were charged with felony DUI, read on to learn about your legal rights and options.
Assert Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant
The U.S. Constitution affords you rights as a criminal defendant. However, it is up to you to take advantage of those rights. One of the best things you can do if you were accused of a crime is to avoid incriminating yourself by answering a police officer’s questions. You have the right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination and it is important you do so. You also have the right to consult with an attorney and to have an attorney present during questioning.
Explore Defense Options With Your Attorney
A criminal defense attorney experienced in drunk driving cases can help you explore various defense options. To convict you of driving under the influence, the prosecution must prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney may be able to find discrepancies or shortcomings in the prosecution’s case that increase your chances of acquittal or dismissal.
Your lawyer may also be able to demonstrate that the evidence used to charge you with drunk driving was flawed. For example, issues with breathalyzer testing devices can make the results inaccurate. Breath alcohol tests must be regularly cleaned and calibrated to function properly. Blood alcohol test results can be inaccurate if the blood sample was not stored properly.
Lack of probable cause is another possible defense strategy for a DUI defendant. Police need probable cause to pull someone over and conduct a traffic stop. Officers cannot stop a vehicle simply on a hunch or because that person was driving in a “bad neighborhood.” Probable cause is also needed to arrest someone for DUI. If your attorney can show that officers did not have probable cause for the traffic stop or arrest, evidence such as breathalyzer results may be inadmissible.
Contact an Arlington Heights DUI Defense Lawyer
If you were charged with felony driving under the influence, you could be facing up to several years in prison as well as steep fines, license revocation, and other penalties. Contact Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Scott Anderson for help building a strong defense. Call 847-253-3400 for a free consultation.