You were driving somewhat erratically, when police stopped you. The officer suspected you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In reality, you suffer from a medical condition, but the officer didn’t believe you. Now, you have been arrested for DUI, and the state has automatically suspended your driver’s license.
Can you fight the statutory suspension of your license based on your medical condition?
The answer depends on the circumstances and is very fact specific. What is the nature of your medical condition? How does it affect your performance? Does the officer have special training in recognizing drug use? Did the officer see any evidence of intoxication that cannot be explained by your condition?
In People v Gocmen, police and an ambulance were called to the scene of an unconscious driver, who might have been having a seizure. The officer saw a can in the car with residue that later tested positive for opiates and a syringe. Defendant was sweating, had pinpoint pupils, and lapsed in and out of consciousness. The officer had not received specific DUI drug training. Nonetheless, the officer arrested defendant for DUI.
In contesting his driver’s license suspension, the defendant said he was a diabetic. Because defendant may have been diabetic and the officer did not have any drug training or experience, the court found that the officer had no basis to conclude that defendant’s state was based on drugs and not on diabetes. While a layperson can testify regarding intoxication from alcohol, the effects of drugs are not commonly known, and training and experience are necessary to understand their effects on people, which the officer lacked.
If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its possible defense. Perhaps the police lacked probable cause to suspect you of DUI. If so, an attorney may be able to petition the court to strike down the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Note that striking the suspension of your license does not guarnatee you will win your DUI). Even if the police acted legally and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the court house 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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.)