Despite what you hear about criminal defendants “getting off on a technicality,” that really doesn’t happen very often. Most appellate courts are reluctant to let an otherwise guilty defendant go free if they can find any way to uphold the conviction. Nonetheless, there are still some defenses left regarding DUI. Below are a couple of examples:
Failure to Produce the Squad Car Video: In more and more communities, police cars are equipped with video cameras. If your attorney has filed the proper requests and that video gets lost or destroyed, the court can sanction the state. For example, the court can bar the officer from testifying about anything that would have been on the video such as whether you were falling down drunk during field sobriety tests. Without that evidence, it may be difficult or even impossible for the state to convict you. Sanctions may only apply, however, if the police department lost or destroyed the video, and not if the officer forgot to turn on the camera or the video suffered from technological errors. Further, a recent case disallowed sanctions where the police officer directed the defendant to perform field sobriety tests outside the squad camera’s view. (See People v Moises.)
Failure to Properly Certify the Breathalyzer Machine: The breathalyzer machine used at the police station must be tested within 62 days before your arrest to certify that the machine is accurate. In a recent Illinois case (People v Smith), the machine had been tested, but the certification did not state whether the machine passed. Nor did the state produce witnesses to testify about the certification. As a result, the court reversed the defendant’s conviction for DUI. An earlier Illinois case held that a breathalyzer certification record was invalid because the state’s witness did not testify that the record was made at the time of the certification. People v Harris.
If you are charged with DUI or another offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney may review your case for your best possible defense. If the police failed to follow procedures, the attorney can ask the court to suppress the evidence against you. Even if this is not possible and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email email@example.com.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)