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Kane County Criminal Defense LawyerMost charges for driving under the influence (DUI) result from traffic stops. Often, field sobriety tests are used to assess a driver for signs of intoxication prior to the DUI arrest and subsequent charges. If you are like many people, you may wonder: Will I get a DUI if I fail a field sobriety test? What if I failed because of a medical problem? Are field sobriety tests even accurate?

Field Sobriety Tests and Drunk Driving Charges

When a police officer suspects someone of driving under the influence, he or she may use two types of tests to evaluate the person for signs of intoxication: chemical blood alcohol tests such as a breathalyzer and field sobriety tests. The results of these two preliminary tests are often used to establish probable cause for a DUI arrest.

Failing a field sobriety test may give a police officer sufficient reason to put a driver in handcuffs and take him or her to the police station for further assessment. However, failing a field sobriety test does not necessarily mean that DUI charges will become a DUI conviction. There are many different DUI defense strategies that may be used to avoid conviction.

It is important to note that drivers have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. There is no penalty for refusing a field sobriety test. Refusing a test does not mean that you will avoid getting arrested for DUI, but it does reduce the evidence the prosecution has against you during your DUI case.

Are Field Sobriety Tests Reliable?

Field sobriety tests are often criticized because the test is largely subjective. The test is based on the officer’s personal assessment of the driver’s actions. Furthermore, medical conditions, injuries, and even anxiety can influence a test taker's ability to perform the actions requested of him or her during the test.

A study published in Law and Human Behavior described the reliability of the tests as “mediocre” and stated that the research supporting field sobriety tests is limited. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s own instructor guide lists the accuracy of field sobriety tests as follows:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test: 88 percent accurate

  • Walk and Turn test: 79 percent accurate

  • One Leg Stand test:  83 percent accurate

Medical conditions, obesity, injuries, and other issues can cause a completely sober person to fail a test. Tests may also be flawed because they are administered by unqualified or inexperienced police officers. As you can see, field sobriety tests are not foolproof and failing a test does not automatically mean you will be convicted of drunk driving.

Contact a Kane County DUI Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one were charged with drunk driving, contact Elgin criminal defense lawyer Brian J. Mirandola for help. Mr. Mirandola has practiced criminal defense for over 20 years and spent seven years as assistant county prosecutor. The team at the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola know how to craft a powerful defense against DUI charges and ensure that clients’ rights are protected. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/documents/sfst_ig_refresher_manual.pdf

https://www.jstor.org/stable/25144630?origin=JSTOR-pdf

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Aurora Criminal Defense AttorneyDriving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is a criminal offense in Illinois. However, the penalties for DUI vary considerably. If someone is arrested for DUI without any prior DUI arrests or convictions on their record, they usually face fines, probation, and temporary loss of their driving privileges. Often, first-time DUI offenders without aggravating circumstances are able to avoid jail time. However, the penalties for a second DUI are harsher. This is why it is so important to build a powerful defense strategy if you are arrested for DUI a second time.  

Criminal and Administrative Consequences for a Second DUI Offense in Illinois

Any criminal offense is serious, however, some offenses are punished more harshly than others. If you were arrested for DUI and you have a previous DUI conviction on your record, you will face additional penalties. These penalties include:

  • A mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days

  • A maximum jail sentence of up to 364 days

  • Up to two years of probation

  • Fines up to $2,500

If there are aggravating factors, the penalties are even more severe. For example, if there was a child under age 16 in the car at the time of the DUI arrest, the offense may be considered a felony.

How to Beat a Second DUI in Elgin

If you were arrested for DUI for the second, third, or fourth time, you may be understandably worried about the consequences. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can help you build a strong defense against the charges.

There are many different defense strategies your lawyer may utilize. Your lawyer may question the reason for the DUI arrest or initial traffic stop. Police cannot pull someone over or make an arrest unless they have probable cause to do so. Your attorney may also question the results of the breath test or blood test. These tests are not infallible. Problems with the testing equipment or administration techniques can throw off the results. Blood samples that are not properly stored can become contaminated. Breath tests or breathalyzers that are not calibrated can yield false positives. These are just some of the arguments your lawyer may make in your defense.

Contact an Aurora DUI Defense Lawyer

Second DUIs are punished more severely than first-time DUIs. If you or a loved one have been arrested for drunk driving, contact the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola for help. Kane County criminal defense attorney Brian J. Mirandola can protect your rights and advocate aggressively on your behalf from beginning to end. Call 847-488-0889 today for a free, confidential consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

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Posted on in DUI

elgin dui defense lawyerHalloween is just a few weeks away. The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on many events last year, but this year many people will be gathering at costume parties and masquerade balls to celebrate with tricks and treats. One trick that revelers may find themselves facing, however, is being stopped or arrested for DUI. What can you do to avoid this “scary” situation and what steps should you take if you are stopped?

Halloween and Alcohol

Many adult Halloween events involve alcohol. Unfortunately, many people do drive after they have been drinking. It is estimated that almost 45 percent of all fatal crashes that happen during the Halloween weekend involve a driver with an over-the-legal-limit blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Anyone who is planning on attending an event where alcohol is being served should take the following steps to avoid a potential DUI arrest:

  • Have a designated sober driver. Make sure it is someone who will stick to their promise of not drinking at the event.

  • If you have been drinking and do not have a designated driver, take a cab or ridesharing company home. If you cannot find a ride with any of these options, call a friend or family member for a ride home. Do not get in your vehicle and drive.

  • Check and see if your community has a Sober Ride program. Many municipalities and organizations have these programs during certain holidays and provide free rides home to anyone who is impaired who contacts them.

What to Do If You Are Stopped by Police

If you do go to a Halloween event and are stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of drunk driving, there are some steps you should take. As soon as you realize that the blue light flashing behind you is meant for you, put your turn signal on and safely pull over. It is important to remember that it is very likely the officer has a camera recording the whole encounter. That video can be used as evidence either to prove the prosecutor’s case against you or by your attorney to defend against any charges you may be arrested for.

Remain calm and make sure you are polite with the police officer who approaches your vehicle. Provide the officer with your license and registration. Do not admit to the officer you have been drinking. Just remain silent if the officer asks any questions about drinking. If the officer asks you to submit to any field sobriety tests or roadside BAC tests, you have the right to decline. You are not required by law to submit to roadside BAC tests.

If the officer requests you submit to a post-arrest chemical BAC test, this is a much harder decision to make. Refusal to take the test means an automatic suspension of your license for 12-months under the Illinois implied consent law, regardless of the outcome of any criminal charges that may be filed against you. Whatever decision you make, if you are charged with drunk driving, a skilled attorney can investigate all of the facts and evidence and determine what defense will result in the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact a Kane County Defense Attorney for Help

If you have been charged with drunk driving, the consequences can be harsh. A conviction and loss of license can affect your ability to work now, as well as any future employment opportunities. A DUI conviction can even have an impact on child custody situations. Do not try to defend against these charges on your own. Call The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation with an Elgin, IL DUI defense lawyer.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

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Posted on in DUI

elgin drugged driving lawyerWith the legality of marijuana expanding across the 50 states and prescription medication becoming ever more common, the laws surrounding drugged driving continue to adapt. Because of these adaptive and varied cases, it is important to understand the available options when faced with driving under the influence (DUI) charges. While DUI laws may initially seem confusing, a Kane County defense attorney can help you move forward. 

The Illinois vehicle code statute includes seven ways in which someone may be found guilty of driving under the influence. It is against the law to drive while impaired driving due to by drug or combination of drugs. Cases and outcomes can vary immensely based on the legality of the drugs in the person’s system. Since legalizing recreational use of marijuana in Illinois in 2020, driving under the influence of marijuana is addressed similarly to drunk driving. The legal limit for THC is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.

A major difference between DUIs brought on by illegal drugs versus prescription medication or recreational marijuana is the integration of “per se” law. According to Illinois law, a driver may be charged with DUI if he or she has any amount of a controlled substance in his or her system while driving. Per se law can be implemented even if the individual believes that he or she is capable of driving safely. 

Penalties Resulting from Drugged Driving

If you are a first-time DUI offender in the state of Illinois, you will face a Class A misdemeanor. Other potential penalties include:

  • Drivers license suspended for one year

  • Maximum fine of $2,500

A second time offender could lead to more penalties, increasing in number and harshness: 

  • Driver license suspended for a minimum of five years

  • Maximum fine of $2,500

  • Requirement of 5 days in jail or 30 days of community service

If you have three or more offenses, you will face a class 4 felony, potentially consequences such as:

  • Drivers license suspended for 6 years

  • Maximum fine of $10,000

  • Possibility of 3 years of imprisonment

  • Mandatory drug treatment

Much like the laws themselves, the penalties for the law violations vary greatly depending on each circumstance. For instance, it is likely penalties will increase if there is a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 16. Another example in which penalties may worsen for the defendant is if the impaired driving caused any harm to others. 

Call An Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter how “under the influence” is defined, it is a very serious offense. If you have been charged with a DUI of any type, a Kane County criminal defense lawyer can help you. Call The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 for more information and a free consultation.

 

Sources: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050k11-501.htm

https://norml.org/laws/drugged-driving/illinois-drugged-driving/

 

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Posted on in DUI

kane county DUI defense lawyerDespite decades of anti-impaired driving ad campaigns, driving under the influence (DUI) remains a prominent issue in the United States. According to the Illinois Secretary of State, there were more than 26,000 arrests made for driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in Illinois alone in 2019. DUI can be extremely dangerous and sometimes even deadly for those on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported more than 10,100 deaths occurred due to drunk driving accidents across the country in 2019. DUI is often punished harshly to attempt to deter offenders from reoffending. Various factors can affect the severity of a DUI conviction, but many people do not realize that their blood alcohol content (BAC) level can also affect their DUI charge.

BAC and DUI

In nearly every state, the legal limit for your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) when operating a vehicle is 0.08 percent. If you take a breathalyzer test and your BAC registers as anything over 0.08, you are technically driving under the influence of alcohol and can be arrested and tried for DUI. The actual value of your BAC can also affect the severity of your DUI charges.

Most first-time DUI convictions are Class A misdemeanors, which carry a possibility of up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. However, even if this was your first DUI-related offense, you could face a mandatory minimum $500 fine, along with a mandatory minimum 100 hours of community service if your BAC was 0.16 or more at the time of the offense. The penalties for an excessive BAC are in addition to any other penalties that a judge may impose.

Penalties for excessive BACs depend on the number of prior DUI convictions a person has. For example, if a person was arrested and convicted of their third DUI, they could face an additional mandatory minimum of 90 days in prison, along with a mandatory minimum of $2,500, in addition to any other penalties they may be facing.

Contact an Elgin, IL DUI Defense Attorney Today

If you have been arrested and/or charged with driving under the influence in Illinois, you should not try to guide yourself through the legal process alone. At the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, our attorney has more than 20 years of experience with criminal defense in Kane County. Facing DUI charges can be scary but it does not have to be. To schedule a free consultation to begin discussing your case with our Kane County DUI defense lawyer, call our office today at 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving

 

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