The coronavirus pandemic has altered life as we know it in many ways, including changing the way we work and socialize. While some effects of the pandemic were foreseeable, others were arguably unexpected. For example, as shown by a recent article regarding DUI arrests in Santa Clarita Valley, the rates of many crimes, including DUI offenses, have decreased throughout the country. While DUI rates may have decreased, the State nonetheless continues to prosecute DUIs and other crimes aggressively, and it is important for people charged with driving under the influence to understand their rights. If you are an Illinois resident faced with DUI charges, therefore, you should consult a trusted Illinois DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.
Decreased DUI Rates in Santa Clarita Valley
Reportedly, the DUI rates in Santa Clarita Valley were drastically reduced in the first half of the year. Specifically, from the beginning of the year up until June 1st, there was an approximately eleven percent decline in DUI arrests from the same period in the prior year. Law enforcement agencies in the city believe that the decrease is due, at least in part, to the coronavirus pandemic. In other words, they explained that as bars and restaurants have been closed for several months, there are fewer people consuming alcohol outside of their homes and then driving.
Allegedly, due to State and local restrictions, there are also fewer social gatherings and parties. Thus, California Highway Patrol for the area also reported about an eleven percent decrease in arrests for the first part of the year. Paradoxically, though, the number of arrests over the Fourth of July weekend was double what they had been the year prior.
DUI Under Illinois Law
Although DUI rates have decreased across the country, law enforcement officers are still on the lookout for intoxicated motorists and continue to stop and arrest anyone suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Illinois and in other states. In Illinois, a person can be convicted of DUI for being in actual physical control or driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, which is considered a per se violation. A person can also be found guilty of a DUI offense for driving or operating a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which is a much broader range and generally requires circumstantial evidence to prove, such as testimony from the arresting officer.
Regardless of the basis of a DUI charge, in many instances, there are defenses a defendant can assert in hopes of obtaining a favorable result. For example, if the arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion that a crime or traffic violation was being committed prior to stopping the defendant, the stop may violate the defendant’s Constitutional rights, and any evidence obtained during the stop may be inadmissible.
Speak to an Illinois Attorney
If you live in Illinois and were recently charged with a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a dedicated Illinois DUI defense attorney regarding what defenses you may be able to assert in hopes of avoiding a conviction. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a dedicated DUI defense attorney with the knowledge and resources needed to help you aim for a successful outcome, and he will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach Mr. Harvatin through the online form or by calling 217.525.0520 to schedule a meeting.