Drivers faced with a DUI charge in Illinois often wonder whether they should engage an attorney’s services if it is their first offense. No matter whether it’s your first DUI charge or a subsequent one, defendants should consider hiring an attorney because of the possible consequences.
Changing laws necessitate representation
In the not-so-distant past, criminal defense attorneys were often able to work out deals where their clients would accept a lesser charge such as reckless driving instead of DUI. That was before the passage of drunk driving per se laws which say that if you have a certain level of BAC, you are essentially guilty. These laws work in much the same way that zero-tolerance laws do for underage drivers.
Failing field sobriety tests
Some drivers that have blood alcohol levels that are less than the required minimum may still be arrested for suspicion of drunk driving if they have failed a field sobriety test. This three part-test measures several parameters, including walk-and-turn, one-leg stand and the horizontal nystagmus test (HNT), which tracks involuntary eye movements that become more frequent when one is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Sometimes, judges throughout cases when they feel that the arresting officers were too subjective in their field sobriety assessments.
When to seek representation
Mounting a DUI criminal defense strategy can be tricky, but sometimes drivers are taken into custody when they are not under the influence of alcohol. Some health conditions or medications, for example, can cause heightened horizontal nystagmus movement. Additionally, officers must perform field sobriety tests according to exact steps. If you feel you are innocent and believe that you have a good chance of winning your case, an experienced attorney may be able to help.