Dealing with a driving under the influence charge in Illinois can be a significant challenge. At Driver Defense Team, we understand the complexities and nuances of DUI cases. We have come across these hurdles in our over 100 years of combined experience in DUI & Traffic Law. Using that experience, we’ve put together a list of 54 ways we’ve beaten DUIs.

This collection is more than just a showcase of our legal successes; it’s to show you that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and that Driver Defense Team is the right law firm to guide you there. As you read through the list, we hope you’ll see the diligence and dedication we bring to each client’s defense, emphasizing our firm’s capability to navigate the challenges of your DUI case effectively.

  1. Bad Weather Poor weather conditions may affect one’s ability to drive. We have argued that behaviors like swerving, often attributed to impairment, might instead be responses to challenging weather. Additionally, we’ve argued slick surfaces from poor weather conditions can affect a person’s ability to perform the field sobriety tests. Both of these things can cast doubt on the validity of DUI charges.
  2. No Probable Cause to arrest for the DUI In our DUI defenses, we often challenge the probable cause for arrest. In one notable case, our client was arrested for DUI solely based on slightly slurred speech. We argued that this alone did not constitute probable cause for arrest. After presenting evidence of the client’s natural speech impediment and lack of other impairment signs, the court agreed, leading to a dismissal of the charges.
  3. No Probable Cause for Stop Another way we use probable cause is to scrutinize the traffic stop’s legitimacy and if it lacks a solid basis, we argue for dismissal or reduced charges. For example, if the officer indicates that the reason for the traffic stop was because our client ran through a red light and the police dash cam indicates otherwise, we can file a motion to suppress the evidence that was gathered as a result of the illegal stop. As a result, the state has no evidence that came after and the case is dismissed.   
  4. Jurisdiction Our team capitalizes on jurisdiction boundaries. Police officers are given authority to make arrests in their jurisdiction. For most police agencies, their jurisdiction is limited to the city or village boundaries. If an arrest occurs outside an officer’s authorized area, we assert this overstep to argue for case dismissal, challenging the legality of the DUI charge.
  5. Officer Credibility Impeachment By highlighting any discrepancies in the officer’s testimony or procedural errors during the arrest, we cast doubt on their credibility. This approach can be instrumental in weakening the prosecution’s case.
  6. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus HGN testing, which observes eye movements to indicate consumption of alcohol, can be unreliable due to various factors like medical conditions or improper administration. By questioning the test’s accuracy and the officer’s training in conducting it, we can undermine the DUI charge’s foundation. 
  7. One-Leg Stand This field sobriety test can be influenced by numerous factors unrelated to alcohol consumption, such as physical conditions, age, or even nervousness. By highlighting these alternative explanations for a client’s performance and questioning the test’s administration, we often weaken the prosecution’s argument.
  8. Walk & Turn Test This field sobriety test can be significantly affected by factors other than intoxication, such as uneven terrain, footwear, or inherent balance issues. By emphasizing these aspects and questioning the test’s execution and officer’s interpretation, we often cast doubt on the validity of the DUI charges. 
  9. Insider Knowledge – We keep a database of information that gives us an advantage. In one of our previous cases, we knew that the arresting officer was on paternity leave. How did we know? We do a lot of cases in this particular court house and have other cases with him. We have it on good knowledge that recently, he hasn’t shown up to court. Once we get that information, it goes out to our database and is shared with our entire firm. As a result, we set the case for a hearing knowing he wouldn’t show up and the time would expire.
  10. Private Property In order to suspend a driver’s license after a DUI arrest, it must be shown that the driver drove on a public roadway while intoxicated. When a DUI arrest occurs entirely on private property, our firm will often challenge the license suspension arguing that driving under the influence charges require proof of operating a vehicle on public roads and get it overturned. 
  11. Improper Lane Usage –  Officers often cite weaving as a sign of impairment. However, there can be many lawful explanations for a driver failing to stay within their lane. Our approach involves presenting lawful reasons for lane deviations.  Additionally, we emphasize that weaving within a lane without crossing lines is not an infraction, challenging the basis for DUI allegations.
  12. Actual Physical Control – In order to be charged with DUI in Illinois, the defendant must be in actual physical control of the vehicle. When a vehicle is stopped or there are multiple occupants, our experienced attorneys can make it difficult for the prosecution to prove that our client was in actual physical control of the vehicle. 
  13. Speedy Trial Demand The prosecution only has 120 or 160 days to bring a case to trial. However, this time only runs once an attorney demands trial. A skilled DUI attorney can often use this to their advantage to place pressure on the prosecution and sometimes cause them to fail to meet their deadline. 
  14. Reckless Reducer – For some drivers, especially second time offenders and CDL holders, getting a DUI charge amended to reckless driving is a great way of minimizing the impact and consequences of a DUI. Additionally, this avoids the longer-term consequences associated with a DUI conviction.
  15. Patel Issue The prosecution must provide the driver a meaningful hearing prior to suspending their driver’s license for DUI. If the prosecution is late in giving your attorney the evidence, your lawyer may be able to overturn or eliminate the suspension. 
  16. Language barriers The law does not require officers to speak in the suspect’s native language when warning them what consequences they will face for either refusing to provide a BAC sample or providing a sample above .08 regarding their driving privileges. However, we may counter the state’s argument that a refusal to do a test may be inferred as a consciousness of guilt by arguing that the suspect was not aware of what was being asked of them. 
  17. Test Ordered for Medical Purposes There are many times that a driver gives blood after a DUI arrest. One important question is: Was the blood test requested by law enforcement or medical personnel? A good lawyer will investigate this and it may mean the difference between a license suspension or not. 
  18. State Fails to Meet Burden of Proof In every DUI case, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We meticulously analyze evidence and identify gaps or weaknesses in the state’s case. If the State proceeds to trial without enough evidence to convict the judge or jury of guilt this could lead to a not guilty verdict.
  19. Initial Approach by Police Can be Considered a Seizure – Police officers may approach citizens and ask questions (Terry), but if they transition into restricting someone’s movement by (1) the threatening presence of several officers; (2) the display of a weapon by an officer; (3) some physical touching of the person; or (4) using language or tone of voice compelling the individual to comply with the officer’s requests, the officer(s) must give Miranda warnings for any statements to be used against the person. 
  20. Improper Checkpoint Procedure Sobriety checkpoints must be conducted according to strict guidelines and procedures. If these procedures are improperly conducted, we challenge the legality of the checkpoint and the arrest. Successfully arguing against improper checkpoint procedures has often led to the suppression of evidence and could lead to dismissal or reduction of the charges.
  21. Inadmissible Breath/Blood Testing 28 Section 1286 of Title 20 of the Illinois Administrative Code sets out the procedure that must be followed for breath and blood tests to be admissible. We scrutinize the testing process for protocol breaches, equipment calibration issues, and the handling of samples. If these tests are found to be conducted improperly, we argue for their exclusion as evidence.
  22. Alternate Explanations for Bloodshot Eyes Common initial observations by an arresting officer include “red-bloodshot eyes.” The officer assumes this is due to intoxication although we argue that there are many other explanations such as lack of sleep, smoke, dust, and others.
  23. Alternate Explanations for Odor of Alcohol Beverage Another common initial observation is “the odor of an alcoholic beverage.” However, it can be argued that alcohol itself does not have an odor. Additionally, a driver over 21 years of age is permitted to consume alcohol and drive. It is only illegal if they are too intoxicated to drive safely or are over the legal limit.
  24. Confirmation of Summary Suspension – In order for the police to try to suspend your drivers license after a DUI arrest because of a refusal to provide a BAC sample or providing a BAC above .08, the officer must prepare a “Notice of Summary Suspension” and send that to the ILSOS. The ILSOS then reviews it for accuracy and sends a confirmation of summary suspension to the clerk of the circuit court. If the confirmation of Statutory Summary Suspension is not in the court file within 30 days of the filing of the Petition to Rescind, this can be a basis for a rescission.
  25. Defective Notice of SSS The reason the ILSOS has to review the Notice of Summary Suspension for accuracy as discussed above is that the Notice, which is considered a pleading, may be defective. If it is, either the ILSOS can reject it, in which case no confirmation of summary suspension would be in the court file. Alternatively, we can argue that the pleading is defective which prejudices the client and therefore the rescission should be granted.
  26. Getting MDDP/BAIID – For some people who will be suspended, they have the option of applying for a Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) through the ILSOS and getting a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in their vehicle. If they do these two things, they are allowed to drive throughout their suspension which allows them to drive to work, get their kids to school, etc. Our firm helps with this confusing process. Additionally, installing a BAIID can be a strategic move because it demonstrates a commitment to safe driving. This action can positively influence the prosecutor in negotiations when requesting a reduced charge or more lenient sentencing. 
  27. Pitch for Plea – A pitch for a plea is where the prosecutor agrees to rescind the statutory summary suspension in exchange for a plea on the DUI. For some drivers, this is a best case scenario because it saves thousands of dollars in fees on the MDDP & BAIID, and causes minimal disruption to life. 
  28. SupervisionIn certain circumstances, getting court supervision on a DUI charge can be a huge win. This outcome allows a driver to avoid a conviction on their records and prevents their driving privileges from being revoked. 
  29.  Under Cannabis Limit – We have seen many cases where a driver is arrested for consuming cannabis and driving. However, it is later revealed that the driver was under the legal Cannabis limit. It is important for an attorney to know the exact levels and methods for arguing a DUI Cannabis case.
  30.  Greater Than 2 Hours After Arrest For Cannabis Test If a cannabis test is conducted more than two hours after the arrest, the results may not accurately reflect the client’s state at the time of driving. This time lapse can significantly affect THC levels in the body, leading us to challenge the test’s reliability and, consequently, the DUI charge itself. 
  31. No LabsA key strategy is focusing on the absence of laboratory evidence. In cases where blood or urine tests are not conducted, we argue the lack of scientific proof to support intoxication claims.
  32. Kladdis Motion – This motion demands the production of all video and audio recordings related to the arrest. If law enforcement fails to preserve or produce this evidence, we argue that nearly all evidence should be excluded and even for dismissal of the case.
  33. Proactive Evaluation and Treatment In DUI cases, we often advise clients to undergo evaluation and treatment for substance use proactively. Completing these steps ahead of time demonstrates responsibility and a commitment to change. This proactive approach can positively influence the court’s perception, often leading to a more favorable outcome.
  34. Going to Inpatient Treatment – This demonstrates a serious commitment to addressing any substance abuse issues and a willingness to reform. By proactively seeking treatment, clients can positively influence court perceptions, potentially leading to more favorable legal outcomes, such as reduced charges or alternative rehabilitation-focused sentencing.
  35. Apply the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree DoctrineThis legal principle excludes evidence obtained through illegal or unconstitutional means. If the initial traffic stop or subsequent search is deemed unlawful, any later evidence, like breathalyzer results, may be considered inadmissible.
  36. Lapsed Certification of IntoxilyzerIf we discover that the certification has lapsed, we challenge the validity of the breath test results and can result in excluding this key evidence. 
  37. Breath Test Operator Certification –  The operator must be licensed at the time of the test. If the operator’s license was expired or invalid, we challenge the legitimacy of the breath test results. Proving that the test was conducted by an unlicensed individual can cast serious doubt on the evidence’s reliability.
  38. Medical or Physical Issues Conditions like neurological disorders, injuries, or even fatigue can mimic signs of intoxication. These conditions could explain the client’s behavior or poor performance on sobriety tests.
  39. Fixing a Suspended LicenseBy assisting clients in fixing their suspended license before court proceedings, we may create a basis for negotiating a reduction from felony to misdemeanor charges. This proactive approach demonstrates responsibility and can significantly influence the outcome.
  40. Margin of Error on Breath Result By emphasizing the inherent uncertainty and potential inaccuracies in the devices used for the breath test, we question the exactness of the blood alcohol content (BAC) reading. Arguing that the client’s BAC may have been below the legal limit while driving.
  41. Warning to Motorists on a Cannabis DUIThis warning, which officers must provide before administering field sobriety tests when a Cannabis DUI is suspected, informs drivers of their rights and potential consequences. If this warning is inadequately given or omitted, we challenge the admissibility of any evidence obtained from the tests. 
  42. No DRE on a Drug DUI Drug Recognition Experts or DREs are trained to identify drug impairment, and their absence can be crucial. We argue that without a DRE’s assessment, the arresting officers may lack the expertise to accurately identify drug impairment.
  43. Mistaken Identity – When there’s a possibility of our client’s identity being falsely used, we explore a “mistaken identity” defense. This involves thoroughly investigating the circumstances of the arrest and cross-checking evidence to establish that our client was not the individual driving or committing the offense.
  44. Accident-Related InjuriesThe impact of an accident or an airbag deployment can cause a concussion and symptoms (confusion, disorientation, slurred speech) that mimic intoxication. We argue that these physical effects, rather than alcohol or drug use, might explain the client’s behavior. 
  45. Interfering SubstancesMany items contain forms of alcohol which may cause false results, such as asthma spray, cough drops, paints, and fingernail polish. These items can cause the breath results to be invalid.
  46. No Field Tests & No BACA client’s refusal to undergo field sobriety and breathalyzer tests limits the evidence that can be used against them. Without these test results, the prosecution lacks concrete evidence of intoxication. We argue that this absence of evidence creates reasonable doubt about impairment. 
  47. Non-Standardized Field Sobriety TestThese tests lack uniform administration guidelines and scientific validity, making their reliability questionable. We argue that results from these subjective tests should not be heavily weighted in determining impairment.
  48. 20-Minute Observation Period Before administering a breathalyzer test it is mandatory for the officer to observe the subject for a 20 minute period. If the police didn’t wait long enough, we argue that the breath test may not be reliable. 
  49. Breathalyzer Device Mouthpiece If multiple breath samples were taken without changing the mouthpiece, we challenge the test’s accuracy. This can lead to contamination and skewed results.
  50. Misleading Statements by OfficerIf an officer provides inaccurate or deceptive statements during the arrest or in their report, we challenge their credibility and the integrity of the evidence they collected.
  51. Odor of CannabisThe mere smell of cannabis doesn’t conclusively prove recent use or impairment. We may argue that without additional concrete evidence of impaired driving, the charges are based on assumption rather than fact.
  52. Officer’s Prior RecordIf the officer has a history of misconduct, procedural errors, or credibility issues, we use this information to challenge the legitimacy of the arrest and the evidence collected. 
  53. Dental Work – Bridgework or false teeth may “trap” mouth alcohol and contaminate a breath machine sample. The failure of police to cause dentures to be removed before a test can be grounds for dismissal of charges, or at least grounds for excluding the state’s breath test results.
  54. Alternative Courts Depending on our client’s background and circumstances, they may be eligible for alternative courts such as mental health court, veteran’s court, or drug court. Successful completion of these programs often results in the DUI being dismissed.