If you are charged with DUI, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) that you were impaired and 2) that you were driving. This burden may be more difficult to meet if no one actually saw you behind the wheel of the car. But sometimes the state can prove driving through circumstantial evidence.

In a typical DUI, an officer may stop you for a traffic violation and thus, can testify that you were driving. Bear in mind that this applies even if the officer instead found you sleeping in the car. If instead the officer arrives at the scene of an accident, the state may call the other driver as a witness to your driving. If the other driver fails to appear, the state may not be able to meet its burden of proof.

But what if you left the vehicle? The state may still be able to prove driving through inferences. For example, in People v. Day, an officer found the defendant walking barefoot a mile from the scene of a one-vehicle accident. Defendant admitted he owned the vehicle, and that his cell phone and flip flops were on the driver’s side floorboards. Defendant then claimed a “Buddy Young” had been driving but couldn’t say how long he had known Buddy Young and didn’t know how to reach him. From that, the court concluded that Buddy Young did not exist, and thus, it was reasonable to infer that defendant had been driving the truck.

If you have been charged with DUI or a similar offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Can the state prove all the elements of DUI 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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