While you can still be convicted of DUI without a breathalyzer, the prosecution’s job certainly is a bit harder.

To find you guilty of DUI, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were both driving and impaired.  A breathalyzer reading above .08 raises a presumption that you were impaired.  Without the breathalyzer, the state must rely on other evidence.

During your court case, your attorney will ask the state to turn over copies of its evidence against you.  In most cases, that evidence will include video from the police stop. The video may show your driving prior to the stop, your behavior towards police and any field sobriety tests that you may have taken.

If your driving was erratic, you looked wasted and you wobbled all over any field sobriety tests, the lack of a breathalyzer will not save your case. However, if you drove well, behaved appropriately without slurring your words or losing your balance and stood like a rock while holding one leg up for 30 seconds, you may be able to win a not guilty verdict at trial.

Note that even with a breathalyzer above the legal limit, it is possible to win a not guilty verdict if there are no other signs of impairment.  However, you may still be convicted of driving with a breathalyzer above .08, which is a separate offense. It is also possible to dispute the accuracy of a breathalyzer test.

If you have been charged with a DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense.  Did the police have probable cause to arrest you?  Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt?  Even if the police acted lawfully 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

(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.)


About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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