You had several drinks at a party, then drove yourself and some friends home. On the way, you hit a light pole. You were walking home when police stopped you. You told them you’d had too much to drink and shouldn’t have driven your car. Now you are arrested for DUI.

Is your confession enough to convict you?

While we always tell clients not to make statements to third parties and especially not the police, a confession, by itself, is not enough to convict you in Illinois. The problem arises when your confession is corroborated by other evidence.

To convict you of DUI, the state of Illinois must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) you were driving and 2) you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Illinois courts have long held that the elements of a crime cannot be proven by a defendant’s confession without some independent evidence.

Generally, DUI confessions become an issue when a defendant has left the car before police arrive. The defendant’s statement that he or she was driving is not enough to prove that element. Coming up with corroboration, however, may not be very difficult. One Illinois case involved a defendant who was seen standing next to the car he owned while the car’s other occupant was trapped in the passenger seat. Evidence also showed that the defendant was fussy about his car. The Court held that this was sufficient evidence to support a conviction.

Could you be convicted if you admitted to police you were drunk? Defense attorneys never like it when clients make these statements. It can make the case more difficult, although not impossible, to defend. The State, however, would still need independent evidence, but an officer’s testimony that you smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and glassy eyes and drove all over the road might be more than enough corroboration.

If you are charged with DUI or another traffic or criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An experienced DUI attorney can evaluate your case for the best possible defense.

If you have questions about this or another related 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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