What Happens When You Are Stopped for DUI?

DUIThe only contact many people will ever have with the criminal justice system is when they are stopped for a DUI. In Illinois the crime of DUI involves operating a motor vehicle when you are impaired by drugs or alcohol. You can be convicted of DUI even if you were only using your own prescription medicine.

Why the Officer Comes to Your Window

In Illinois you may have an officer approach your car window in two basic situations. The first one is at a DUI checkpoint. Illinois courts have held that DUI checkpoints do not violate driver’s constitutional rights. Officers may pick out cars at random to stop and approach or they may decide to approach you if they see something suspicious.

A law enforcement officer can also pull you over. Before a police officer can pull you over, he or she has to have a reasonable suspicion that you are breaking the law. Some tell tale signs of an intoxicated driver include swerving, driving far under or far over the speed limit, and difficulty stopping on time at a stop signs or stoplights.

Field Sobriety Tests

After the officer approaches the window, you may be asked to exit the car and perform some tests. These tests are often called field sobriety tests and they are used to determine if you are too impaired to be driving. The results of these tests can be used against you in court.

The tests often assess your balance or your speech. Some typical field sobriety tests include walking in a straight line and saying the alphabet backwards.

Blood Alcohol Level

Usually if you fail the field sobriety tests, the officer will have enough to arrest you for DUI. You will then be asked to submit to a test where you blow into a machine and your blood alcohol level (BAC) is measured. You have the right to refuse the test, but you may then face a longer suspension of your driver’s license.

In some instances you may be required to submit to a blood test. A blood test will show if you have any drugs or alcohol in your system. The blood test and the breath test results are often used in any court proceedings after you are charged.

If it is your first DUI, you are often released after taking the required tests, but you are not allowed to drive yourself home.

If you have been cited or arrested for DUI, speak with a tough and experienced Naperville criminal defense lawyer before you talk to anyone about your case. Call today for a consultation.