The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


47 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120

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b2ap3_thumbnail_DUI_20191014-235658_1.jpgIt is always a scary feeling to see red and blue flashing lights in your rear-view mirror, especially if you know you’ve had a few drinks before getting behind the wheel. A lot of people think that they will be arrested for a DUI offense if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit and so they refuse the necessary tests during the traffic stop.

It is within a person’s rights to refuse the breathalyzer test and the typical field sobriety test during the traffic stop, however, that would result in an automatic one-year suspension of a driver’s license and a possible arrest where the test will be administered at the police station.

However, an arrest is not usually made unless the officer knows for sure that a driver is drunk. How do they figure that out without a chemical or field sobriety test? They observe a driver’s behavior, movements, smells, and use techniques to properly determine the sobriety.

Driver Interview Process

A police officer starts observing drunken behavior before he/she even stops the vehicle. They look for signs such as swerving, uncontrolled braking or accelerating, and delayed reactions which could be evidence of driver drunkenness.

Then, they will perform a traffic stop to assess the status of the driver. The officer will sometimes not ask for the driver to get out of the car at first, but instead, they will conduct a driver interview. During this time, an officer will:

  • Look for signs of drunkenness: slurred speech, glossy eyes, alcohol smells.
  • Ask difficult questions or ask a driver for multiple documents at the same time.
  • Observe the motor skills of the driver. Whether or not they are fumbling for documents.
  • Ask questions while a driver is looking for their license to see how easily distracted the driver becomes.
  • Ask the driver to recite part of the alphabet or answer questions they would normally be able to answer.
  • Ask the driver to count down from 15 to 1.
  • Ask the driver to verify how many fingers the officer is holding up.

Depending upon the answers of the driver and the observations the officer collects, the officer will then ask the driver to exit the vehicle for a field sobriety test.

Typical Field Sobriety Test

It is within a driver’s rights to not perform a field sobriety test, but if the officer already has clear evidence of drunkenness, they can still perform an arrest without a test.

If a driver does accept the field sobriety test, there are three general exams the officer will ask the driver to perform:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: the officer will have the driver follow their finger with only their eyes. If the driver moves their head or has a “jerky” response in their eyes, they fail the test.
  • Walk-And-Turn: the officer will ask the driver to walk in a straight line for a number of steps, turn, and walk back the same amount of steps. If the driver has to use their arms for balance, makes an improper turn, stumbles, or cannot walk in a straight line, they fail the test.
  • One-Leg Stand: the officer will ask the driver to raise one foot off the ground with their arms at their sides. Then, the driver will count up from 1,000 until told to stop. If the driver falls over, uses their arms for balance, or cannot count, they fail the test.

Officers will fully explain and demonstrate each test before they ask the driver to perform the actions. If the driver does not follow the directions completely, they will fail the field sobriety test.

Often people refuse the field sobriety test because they can be inaccurate depending on the conditions of the road or the physical ability of the driver. Those who are unable to lift a leg and be balanced even when sober can fail the one-leg stand and face possible arrest because of it.

Contact an Elgin, IL DUI Attorney

Drivers who have been wrongfully arrested on a DUI charge or those who have refused a field sobriety test can face many consequences including the loss of a driver’s license, fines, and even jail time for multiple offenders. The lawyers of the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola can help defend a driver’s rights and build a defense to avoid any negative conviction. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County DUI lawyer, call our office at 847-488-0889.




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Posted on in DUI

DUI, Elgin DUI defense attorneyThe state of Illinois takes drinking and driving very seriously. Car accidents involving intoxicated drivers caused 10,265 deaths in 2015 and thousands more injuries. Over a million people were charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) during the same year. If you are caught drinking and driving in Illinois, the penalties can be severe and life-altering. It is important that every driver be educated about DUI laws.

When Can Someone Be Arrested for DUI?

If a police officer suspects a driver is intoxicated, the officer will pull the car over. Next, if the officer still has concerns about the driver’s sobriety he will ask them to take a field sobriety test or chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test. The BAC test is usually done via a breathalyzer device. If the test shows a result of 0.80 percent BAC or higher, the driver will be arrested for driving under the influence and his or her driver’s license will automatically be suspended for six months. A driver who is under age 21 is not legally permitted to drive with any amount of alcohol in their body. If you are under age 21, you can be charged with driving under the influence even if you do not blow over 0.08 percent BAC on a breathalyzer.

A driver can be arrested for DUI even without a failed BAC test. If the officer’s observation of the driver and field sobriety tests show signs of intoxication, the driver may still be arrested. The automatic suspension of driving privileges does not apply without a failed or refused test.

Can I Refuse a BAC Test?

Motorists do have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but doing so results in an automatic driver’s license suspension of one year. Some individuals who refuse to take a test do so because they hope the prosecution will be unable to find other evidence that they were driving under the influence. This can happen, but it is very important to note that a person can still be charged with DUI even if they do not consent to chemical testing.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI?

If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you will face severe criminal penalties. For a first time DUI offender, the penalties include up to one year’s imprisonment, driver’s license suspension of up to a year, and $2500 in fines. An additional $1,000 fine and 25 days of community service are included in the penalties if you drove with a person under age 16 in the car while intoxicated. If you are convicted of a second DUI in Illinois, you will receive a minimum 5-year suspension of your driver’s license and a mandatory 5 days in jail or 240 days of community service. Additionally, you can be imprisoned for a year and fined $2500. A third DUI conviction results in a minimum 10-year loss of driving privileges and up to seven years in jail.

Who Can I Call for Help?

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, you need a DUI lawyer who can help keep you out of jail. To speak with an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, call 847-488-0889 today.


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Posted on in DUI

DUI, Kane County DUI attorneySometimes, unusual circumstances leading to drunk driving arrests sound more like movies than real life. Alcohol is often a factor in thrill-seeking or risky behavior. Those who drink to excess are generally less inhibited than a sober person would be. The consumption of alcohol—especially in large quantaties—releases the feel-good hormone dopamine. When a drinker’s brain is flooded with dopamine, the drinker begins to have trouble discerning what is a good decision and what is a bad decision. This leads many people to do or say things while they are drinking that they would not do or say while sober.

The false confidence which alcohol can give users is one reason why many drinkers choose to drive when they are incapacitated. Many who are arrested for drinking under the influence (DUI) got behind the wheel because they greatly underestimated their inebriation. Such a mistake can cost a person severely.

Man Attempts to Order Food at Bank

Recently, a 38-year-old man in Florida was charged with driving under the influence after making a humiliating mistake. The man drove to a bank’s drive-up lane and then passed out at the wheel. When employees began banging on his window, he woke up. Upon waking, the inebriated man mistook the bank drive-up for a Taco Bell drive-thru, and he attempted to order a burrito. When the branch manager of the bank explained to the man that he was not at a fast food drive-thru, the man drove to the front parking lot. This is where police found the man and arrested him for drunk driving.

Anonymous Tip is Considered Probable Cause

In 2014, the United States Supreme Court gave police the authority to stop vehicles based on anonymous tips. In Navarette v. California, the high court that the police can pull over a vehicle based solely on an anonymous drunk driving tip. The driver does not need to appear to be intoxicated or commit any traffic violations themselves, and such a traffic stop does not violate the Fourth Amendment right to unreasonable search and seizure. For example, if a vehicle is weaving in and out of lanes or driving carelessly, another driver can call 911 and report the driver. If police deem the tip to be credible, they may attempt to locate the driver and pull him or her over. If the driver refuses or fails a chemical blood alcohol test, he or she will likely be arrested on DUI charges.

Are You Facing DUI Charges?

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, you need an attorney who will develop a strong defense strategy and fight to protect your rights. Contact an experienced Elgin DUI defense lawyer for help. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.


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Posted on in Underage Drinking

zero tolerance, Elgin DUI defense attorneysAccording to the Illinois State Police, approximately forty percent of Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. Underage drunk driving accidents account for a large portion of these auto accidents. The need for a proactive approach to underage drunk driving is an ongoing problem.

Legal Consequences of Drinking and Driving Underage

Illinois maintains a "Zero Tolerance" law for drivers who are underage (under the age of 21). This means that a driver who is not above 21 years old who is caught driving with any trace of alcohol in their system can be charged with driving under the influence. Underage drivers do not need to be impaired in order to be charged with a DUI. Put another way, young people who drink and drive do not need to have a blood alcohol level of .08% or above in order to break the law. Legal consequences of a conviction for drinking and driving while underage include loss of diving privileges for a minimum of 2 years, a fine of up to $2500 and possible imprisonment for up to a year for the first conviction. A second underage DUI conviction will result in 48 hours mandatory jail time or 10 days of community service, the loss of driving privileges for a minimum of 3 years, and possible imprisonment for up to a year. A third underage DUI conviction is a class 4 felony. Those convicted face a fine of up to $25,000, a maximum of 3 years of prison time, and the loss of driving privileges for 6 years or more.

The underage individuals who are caught drinking and driving are not the only people affected by the Zero Tolerance Law. Parents who knowingly allow their underage children or children’s friends to drink alcohol in their home can face legal consequences should those children be hurt or killed in an alcohol-related accident. Underage drivers are also not allowed to transport alcohol. Those found with alcohol in their vehicle can be given a fine of up to $1,000 and have their driver’s license suspended.

Legal Guidance for Those Charged Under a Zero Tolerance Law

If you or your child has been arrested for underage drinking and driving, you need an attorney who is experienced, knowledgeable, and ready to fight on your behalf. Contact an Elgin DUI defense lawyer today to discuss your case and explore the possible options. Call 847-488-0889 and schedule a free, confidential consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola.


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Posted on in DUI

felony, Elgin DUI attorneyRegardless of the circumstances, a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is one that can have lasting consequences. Depending on the outcome of your case, the charges could remain on your record for the rest of your life. This could create problems in obtaining affordable car insurance or getting a job that requires you to drive as part of your duties.

The severity of the charges, as you might expect, will contribute to the types and duration of the consequences and penalties. If for example, you are charged with simply operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of just over the legal limit of .08, you will likely be facing misdemeanor charges—especially if it is your first offense. If, however, you were driving drunk, speeding, and you caused an accident in which someone was injured, you will probably be charged with a felony, and the penalties will increase substantially.

Factors of Aggravated DUI

A DUI charge cannot just be elevated to a felony because a prosecutor feels like it. There are factors included in Illinois that guide such decisions. A DUI may be prosecuted as a felony for a number of reasons, including:

  • Any injury to a child under 16 in the defendant’s vehicle (Class 4 felony for first offense);
  • The presence of a child under 16 in the defendant’s vehicle and it is the driver’s second offense (Class 4 felony);
  • Two or three previous DUI convictions, including court supervision or deferred prosecution deals, on the defendant’s record (Class 2 felony);
  • Four previous DUI convictions on the defendant’s record (Class 1 felony);
  • The defendant causing an accident that resulted in great bodily harm or permanent disability (Class 4 felony);
  • Driving under the influence without a valid driver’s license or auto insurance (Class 4 felony); and
  • Driving under the influence with at least one for-hire passenger in the vehicle—such as Uber, Lyft, and taxi passengers (Class 4 felony).

This is not a complete list of the ways in which a driver may be charged with a felony DUI, but these represent many of the most common. Any felony DUI charges may also be referred to as aggravated DUI, and the penalties may vary even within a felony class depending on the individual circumstances.

Charged With DUI?

If you or a loved one is currently facing charged for DUI or aggravated DUI, it is important to seek help immediately. Contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney to get the guidance you need. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.


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