Showing posts with label breath test. Show all posts
Showing posts with label breath test. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Does taking the DUI breath test mean automatic guilty? Definitely not!

Motorists arrested for DUI in Illinois typically take a breath test or other chemical test, like blood or urine. Illinois law is structured to encourage people to take the breath test, and police officers are trained to push them as well. 

The vast majority of those who do submit to breath testing blow a 0.08 or above, the legal limit under Illinois law as well as nationwide. A common question we get at Fagan, Fagan & Davis is if you took the breath test and the result was 0.08 or higher, is there any chance of winning the DUI?

In some cases, yes there certainly is - but far too many defendants and lawyers give up without a fight and plead guilty without ever exploring issues real DUI lawyers look at every day to help their clients.

Watch the video to learn more, then, if you're facing a DUI in the Chicago area, pick up the phone and call our office to discuss!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Man bites dog: Woman with 0.295 breath test NOT charged with DUI in Illinois!

In a bizarre twist, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, a driver in an accident in Cook county, right around the corner from Chicago, Illinois, allegedly was found with a spent bottle of Patron, failed field sobriety tests, and then submitted to a breath test that showed a 0.295 breath alcohol level. For those who may have been living on Mars, that's a lot.

And then she was not charged with DUI.

The officer reportedly told the driver she was "getting a break." I have to agree - an Illinois DUI arrest means big trouble, including a minimum six month license suspension, criminal charges that carry penalties up to 364 days in jail and $2500 in fines plus court costs. As I've said here before, according to the Illinois Secretary of State, dealing with a DUI in Illinois costs around $15,000.00 when all is said and done. The Illinois Department of Transportation puts that number more at about $19,000.00.

So yes, while there may indeed be missing facts we don't have (maybe the officer saw the driver chugging the bottle of Patron while standing outside her car after the accident, or maybe she's in the Federal witness protection program?), it's fair to suggest this qualifies as "getting a break".

Most people aren't so lucky, and if you or your loved one is not "getting a break" on a DUI, criminal or traffic matter, don't hesitate to call and speak with me or one of my partners at Fagan, Fagan & Davis by calling 847-635-8200 now for a free consultation.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is refusing to submit to DUI breath testing in Illinois good advice?

Probably one of the most common questions we get at Fagan, Fagan & Davis is "if I'm stopped for DUI in Illinois, should I take the breath test?" This is always a tough one. Part of the problem is that people don't know what to expect.

Certainly, drinking and driving is not illegal.

Go ahead, read that again and get it over with . . . you know you want to.
The legal limit is 0.08, true enough, but that's just a number - a bright line drawn almost arbitrarily. Not everyone is necessarily impaired at that level in fact, but in law, all states have passed laws to support the legal fiction that it is. So what is a person to do when confronted with the guessing game of figuring out whether they're anywhere near or over that arbitrary 0.08 number on the street in the middle of the night after being confronted by a rather . . . well, confrontational police officer?
Let's see what a State's Attorney has to say about the effect of refusing to submit to breath testing has on the ability to prosecute DuPage county DUI cases.

In a press release promising the latest "no refusal" weekend the State's Attorney notes that "refusal can make it more difficult to prosecute DUI cases."

He's quite right, of course.

However, when we advise clients not to submit to breath testing (or to submit to any performance tests either for that matter), the purpose isn't to frustrate prosecution. Given the amount of public pressure put on police and prosecutors by organizations such as MADD or AAIM, DUI is prosecuted aggressively. That starts on the street, where officers who observe even a slight odor of alcohol are highly reluctant to let anyone drive away. Motorists need to expect the police are out looking for DUI, but they do not have any obligation to assist in their collection of evidence. Polite and cooperative is quite enough, including a polite refusal to take any tests including a breath or chemical test (unless you've consumed absolutely no alcohol, have not consumed any food or beverage of any kind within about 20 minutes and are the picture of perfect health).

As for "no refusal" weekends, what to do? In our opinion, don't take the field sobriety tests, refuse to answer any questions regarding anything not contained on your driver's license, insurance or registration (which the police are entitled to see), and finally . . . make them get the warrant.

One last thing. Unless you want to risk a charge of obstruction of justice or resisting arrest, when the officer tells you to exit the vehicle, do so.

Friday, July 3, 2009

This July 4th we celebrate our freedom - except for those who drink and drive?

July 4th. A day we spend remembering the greatness that is the United States of America and join together in gratitude for our freedoms!

Except if you had the audacity to have a beer before heading home from the fireworks.

Yes, this weekend, Kane county will "host" another one of its "No Refusal Weekends" and coerce people into giving breath samples and blood samples at the whim of an officer. You see, when arrested for an Illinois DUI, it is implied that you "consent" to submit to such testing unless you withdraw that consent. Why might you withdraw that consent? Well, maybe you feel the officer hasn't been totally fair up to that point with his silly acrobatic tests designed to make you fail. Maybe you don't trust these chemical tests in these contraptions because you know they aren't to be trusted. Or maybe you just feel like you have a Constitutional right to shut up (you do).

However, this weekend in Kane county, if you withdraw your consent to testing, the officer will threaten you. Not just with the standard stuff about a longer license suspension (in many cases just a minor inconvenience now, but that's for another time), but with . . . a warrant.


They'll get a warrant. My opinion? Good - let 'em. That way, the Judge has to decide whether the officer has probable cause to obtain the sample, and I'd rather have a Judge decide. Taking away the right of a person to refuse chemical testing means one thing to an officer - he doesn't have to work real hard, just do the minimum. If they can rely on a machine, they can turn off their brains. Apparently, most people don't think of that, because once faced with a warrant, they just cave. In the last "No Refusal Weekend" Kane county conducted, exactly one fellow made them get a warrant. Too bad.

Maybe more of us should remember, and exercise our rights this July 4th weekend.