DUI Matters

“My foremost belief as a practitioner is to act aggressively on behalf
of my client while treating the client himself with compassion.”


Circumstances can lead people to situations in which they are confronted with charges for criminal offenses, sometimes quite serious, against which they must defend themselves.

At that time the wise thing to do is work with a lawyer whose experience gives you confidence, and whose concern for you makes you secure. Attorney Martin Doorhy has been achieving the highest level of results for his clients for over 25 years, first as a government prosecutor, and now as a defense attorney.

Martin has represented clients in hundreds of DUI cases in Cook, Will, and DuPage Counties. Today his practice focuses on Cook and Will Counties, with over two thirds of his cases in the Bridgeview and Markham courthouses, where he can normally be found three days per week.

Mr. Doorhy offers the following information for those who are curious about the manner in which DUI’s are handled in the courts in Cook and Will Counties.

–DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE  (DUI) DUI drivers were responsible for 10,322 fatalities in the US in 2012.  336 of these DUI deaths occurred in Illinois; this represented 34% of all motor vehicle fatalities that year in this state.  Moreover, in Illinois, 37,126 people were arrested for DUI in 2012. These are some of the reasons why DUI’s are treated as among the most serious crimes in our misdemeanor courts today and perhaps the single most serious traffic offense in this state.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT OCCURS WHEN A POLICE OFFICER STOPS YOU FOR A TRAFFIC OFFENSE (SUCH AS IMPROPER LANE USAGE or SPEEDING) AND THEN SUSPECTS THAT YOU MAY BE OPERATING YOUR VEHICLE WHILE DUI. The stop usually begins with his request for your driver’s license and proof of insurance. Remember that he is merely doing his job and do not take his questions as personal affronts. Whatever you do, avoid verbal confrontations with the officer; these you will never win, and they only harm your case. Be polite at all times and remain calm. Be aware that the typical officer is observing your every movement and will record it in his police report or alcohol influence report. So do not panic because this is your first DUI (85% of Illinois offenders were first-time DUI’s). Maintain your composure as you produce your license. Try to keep it in an easily accessible place, such as a sleeve in your wallet. The officer is watching and will annotate exactly how much difficulty you experience in locating it.  This also applies to production of proof of insurance. Do not keep the insurance card in a console or glove compartment that is loaded with other documents where it may take 30-60 seconds to find. This simply arouses more suspicion by the officer, even if you are not DUI, who will record precisely how difficult it was for you to finally produce this document. Normally the officer will tell you that he detects an odor of alcohol while you are still in your vehicle. (DUI’s involving drugs occur, of course, but they represent a small fraction of the total so that only DUI’s based on alcohol consumption will be discussed here.) He usually follows this by directing you to exit your vehicle in anticipation of performing Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s). Please be careful in leaving your vehicle, as efforts to grab arm rests, doors, window frames or anything else for support are usually recorded by the officer in his report. Do not leave your door open; shut it once you exit.

ONCE YOU ARE ON THE STREET, LISTEN CAREFULLY TO THE OFFICER’S INSTRUCTIONS. REMEMBER THAT NEARLY ALL SQUAD CARS IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS ARE EQUIPPED WITH DASH CAMCORDERS so that from the instant you begin to exit your car, everything you do may be recorded. (What you say is usually already being recorded from the moment the officer begins chatting with you in your vehicle.) If you are arrested, the visual and audio recording will be made available in DVD format to the State’s Attorney’s Office and, ultimately, can be viewed by the judge in your case. If you are female and are wearing high heels, or are male and wearing either cowboy boots or lifts, immediately notify the officer that you may have some difficulty walking for that reason, particularly if you are tired and it is late. (Most DUI’s occur between 10:00 p.m.-4:00 a.m.) That will be recorded on his microphone and could be of aid to you later. If he does not tell you to remove the high heels, boots, or lifts, remove them yourself as they will only impede you ability to perform any balancing test. If you are suffering from an illness or injury that may impair your ability to perform balancing tests, tell the officer before you begin these tests. These could include anything from excess weight to knee surgery to a recently sprained ankle to simple exhaustion if it is very late at night and you had been working earlier that day, provided it is the truth. Usually you will be taken to the rear of your vehicle where you will see the squad car parked behind you with its emergency lights activated. You may also encounter more than one officer. Do not let this atmosphere intimidate you: signs of nervousness, or speech that is stammered, slurred, or mumbled will be recorded. So speak clearly at all times and never forget that you are probably being recorded.

–IF YOU ARE ASKED TO PERFORM FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS  you can decline to do so based on advice from counsel. No one can force you to provide evidence against yourself if you honestly believe you are going to perform badly. A minimum of three tests must be requested and at least one, and usually two, will involve balancing: namely, standing on one leg to a count of 30 with the other leg straight and six inches above the ground, and walking “heel-to-toe” for nine steps one way (forward pass) and nine steps back (return pass).  You will also probably be asked to submit to a vision test called a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test in which an implement will be moved horizontally across your line of vision as you are asked to follow it with your eyes without moving your head. If you have any vision problems, such as infections, cataracts, glaucoma, even dry eyes from contact lenses or because of fatigue, tell the officer. If you feel you are unable to perform test such as the one-leg stand or heel-to-toe (the police dub this a walk-and-turn test), do not simply refuse but tell him why you cannot perform it if there is a legitimate reason. Remember that standing on one leg to a count of 30 is impossible for many people who are perfectly sober so, if you cannot do it, do not do it but, again, tell him you could not do this under any circumstances. You may also be asked to blow into a PBT (Portable Breathalyzer Test a/k/a as a Preliminary Breath Test). Unless you have had nothing to drink, it is usually unwise to blow. Some officers might actually advise you that the result can never be used against you in court. This is false, as it can be used against you in a Summary Suspension Hearing (a hearing to attempt to remove the suspension on your license which occurs on the 46th day following every DUI arrest).

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED FOR DUI, it is usually inadvisable to blow into the breathalyzer after your arrival at the police station. An officer will read to you what are called “Warnings to Motorist” and keep you under observation for at least 20 minutes before you are requested to blow. One of these warnings is that if you refuse to blow your license will be suspended for a longer period of time than if you blow. If you feel that you are intoxicated, it is unwise to blow as a BAC (Breath Alcohol Concentration Level) of .08 or above (lowered in Illinois in 1997 from .10) will make it much easier for the prosecution to win the DUI case if it goes to trial. Remember, you have a legal right not to blow into the breathalyzer, so think about what you are about to do before doing it. In addition, after Miranda Warnings are given to you (necessary to interrogate you about the crime if you are in custody), some officers will attempt to interview you. These Warnings are given to you for a reason, so that you know you have the legal right to say absolutely nothing and that if you surrender that right anything you say can and will be used against you in court. There is almost nothing you can say at this point, in the aftermath of a DUI arrest, that is going to change the officer’s mind, but there is a great deal you can say that can harm you irreparably at trial, including pleading with him to release you. Say nothing at this juncture except that you wish to speak with an attorney.


The Law Offices of Thomas W. Lynch & Associates, P.C.
9231 S. Roberts Road
Hickory Hills, IL 60457
TEL: (708) 598-5999 – FAX: (708) 598-6299
E-Mail: info@thomaswlynchpc.com

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