Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is dangerous. In Illinois, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, or driving under the influence of drugs is considered impaired driving and is against the law. If you fail a BAC test, you will most likely be charged with DUI. A failed BAC test does not necessarily mean an automatic conviction for DUI. Always speak with a DUI lawyer when facing DUI charges. A DUI lawyer can help you understand the charges and defend your case. Sometimes there is ample cause to disregard the BAC results. Your lawyer can determine if there is cause to get the results questioned. Even if the BAC results are valid, a lawyer can help you get the best result possible.
How BAC is Measured
BAC is sometimes measured with a breathalyzer and also with a blood test.
- Breathalyzer. This is a device that you blow into. It measures the amount of alcohol in your breath and determines your BAC based on how much alcohol is in your breath.
- Blood Test. Your blood is drawn and then tested in a laboratory to determine how much alcohol is in your blood.
BAC tests are not always reliable. For this reason, it may be possible to get the results thrown out.
- Improper Use. Police officers need to be properly trained in how to use the breathalyzer and whoever is administering the blood test should be properly trained as well. If for some reason the person administering either the breathalyzer or the blood test was not properly trained, that might affect the validity of the results and be a reason to have the results dismissed.
- Instrument Malfunction. Sometimes the breathalyzer may not be calibrated correctly or it may malfunction in some other way. If this is the case, it may be possible to have the results invalidated.
- Contamination. Blood must be properly handled and stored. If the person handling the sample contaminated it in any way, the results may not be valid.
- Improper Storage. The blood must also be stored properly. If a mistake was made in the storage of the sample, it may not be accurate.
The timing of the blood test is important as well. It takes time for the alcohol to absorb into your blood. If the test is taken an hour after you were driving and shows that you have a BAC of .08 it may be possible to argue that your BAC was not that high at the time you were driving.
No Probable Cause
A DUI case could get dismissed despite a BAC result of over .08 for a few other reasons as well.
- No Probable Cause for Stop. If there was no probable cause for the stop in the first place, the case could get dismissed even with a failed BAC test. Police have to have probable cause to pull you over unless it is part of a checkpoint stop. Even checkpoint stops have to follow certain rules. If you were pulled over without cause, or checkpoint rules were not followed, it may be possible to fight the DUI charge.
- Improper Field Tests. Field sobriety tests must be conducted by a trained officer and follow certain rules. If field sobriety tests are administered incorrectly, then you may have grounds to fight the DUI.
Fighting DUI vs. Pleading Guilty
Every DUI case is different. It is important to consult with a DUI attorney to determine what is the best course of action for your case. Sometimes the prosecution will offer a deal that will allow you to have a smaller penalty for pleading guilty. Depending on the case, this may or may not be in your favor. If you plead guilty:
- You will be under court supervision.
- You will have to undergo court ordered drug and alcohol treatment.
- You may have to pay fines.
- You will have a DUI conviction on your permanent record.
- You may have to disclose the conviction to future employers.
- You will no longer have the option for court supervision if you get another DUI.
Carefully consider your options and consult with an attorney before determining how to proceed. An attorney will help you decide if you have options for fighting the DUI.
Dennis Dwyer has fought hundreds of DUI cases. He has the experience necessary to understand the charges and help you determine if you have cause to challenge any BAC results. Don’t face the court alone. Fight your charges with an advocate in your corner. Call Dennis today to discuss your case.