Are you facing drunk driving charges in Illinois? If you find yourself in this situation, you understand the stakes are high and the penalties you are up against are steep. It is beneficial to start working on your defense strategy as soon as possible after an arrest, but where should you start?
Many people facing drunk driving charges make the mistake of assuming there is no point in fighting back. Whether it is your first offense or you have previous offenses on your record, a guilty plea or conviction is never your only option. With the right defense strategy, you can fight to protect your future interests and personal freedoms.
The reason for the traffic stop
As you are preparing your defense strategy, it can help to review every aspect of the DUI traffic stop, including the reason law enforcement pulled you over. In order to stop a driver, there must be reasonable suspicion to do so. If there was no valid reason for your traffic stop, it is possible to challenge any evidence from it, including results of a breath test and more.
The concept of reasonable suspicion exists to protect motorists from unnecessary traffic stops or traffic stops based on discriminatory reasons, such as the ethnicity of the driver. The following are considered valid reasons for a law enforcement officer to have reasonable suspicion and pull a driver over:
- Straddling the center line
- Swerving from lane to lane
- Driving erratically, such as driving fast and stopping for no reason
- Driving through an intersection or stopping in the middle of an intersection
- Swiping or almost hitting stationary objects or parked vehicles
- Making an illegal turn
Law enforcement officers have a significant amount of authority to decide if a driver's behavior is suspicious for any reason. However, if you believe that the actions of the police officer violated your constitutional rights or there was no valid reason for the traffic stop, you can challenge this part of the case against you.
Your defense options
There are various defense strategies available to people who wish to fight back against a DUI. The right approach for you will depend on various factors that are specific to your case. A complete evaluation of your case can help you understand how to proceed and how you can fight back against a DUI, preserve your right to drive and work to avoid a conviction.