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Case Illustrates the Evidence the State Needs to Prove DUI Charges

A recent DUI case arising out of Florida illustrates how a defendant can avoid a DUI conviction if the State fails to follow proper procedures for gathering and maintaining evidence. In that case, the defendant was only convicted of a misdemeanor DUI charge despite the prosecution’s wish to charge her with DUI manslaughter, due to errors in the police investigation. If you reside in Illinois and are faced with DUI charges it is prudent to meet with a knowledgeable Illinois DUI attorney to discuss your case.

Facts and Procedure of the Florida Case

Reportedly, a husband and wife went out to celebrate the husband’s birthday, leaving their daughter with a babysitter. They used a ride-sharing app to get to their destination but accepted a ride from the defendant to travel back home. The defendant failed to yield to a car traveling towards her before attempting to make a left-turn and her car was t-boned. The accident happened at 3:00 am. The defendant’s blood, which was drawn approximately three hours after the crash, was .14. The legal limit in Florida is .08.

It is alleged that the defendant was not charged with any serious crimes due to the lack of evidence. Specifically, there were no photographs taken of the intersection where the accident occurred, and the road was improperly marked during the investigation. Additionally, the photographs taken at the scene were not reviewed prior to the close of the investigation, so the deficiencies were not identified until later. The police also lacked sufficient evidence to establish the defendant’s speed at the time of the accident. Based on the lack of evidence of a more serious crime, the defendant was merely charged with a DUI misdemeanor. She was convicted and sentenced to 30 days imprisonment to be served on weekends.

Reasonable Doubt Under Illinois Law

Under Illinois law, a defendant cannot be convicted of DUI or any other crime unless the prosecution proves each element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, the prosecution must establish that upon review of the facts and evidence presented a reasonable person could not come to any conclusion other than that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. Thus, if a defendant can prove that the police did not comply with the proper procedure during an investigation or obtained evidence improperly, the defendant may be able to obtain a not guilty verdict or get the charges against him or her dismissed. For example, if a defendant’s consent was not obtained prior to a blood test, or the police lacked reasonable suspicion prior to stopping a defendant, the State’s evidence may be inadmissible.

Confer with a Trusted Illinois Attorney

The State has a high burden of proof it must meet to obtain a DUI conviction, and if it cannot meet its burden the defendant should be found not guilty. If you are charged with a DUI you should speak with a trusted Illinois DUI attorney regarding your charges and what evidence the State may be able to introduce against you. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC is a skillful attorney who will fight to help you pursue the most successful result available under the facts of your case. Mr. Harvatin can be reached at 217.525.0520 or via our form online to schedule a meeting regarding your charges.

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