Halloween fun isn’t just for children. You’ve likely had your fair share of Halloween celebrating during this festive season over the years. You also probably know alcohol or drugs are common at these parties.
Police are aware of this, too. It’s evident by the number of DUI (or Driving Under the Influence) cases we see in the weeks that follow. If you were caught driving under the influence this Halloween, you’re going to need an experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney to help.
In the meantime, learn more below about policing efforts made to combat DUI incidents and the common defenses against charges.
Heightened Halloween DUI Policing Across Illinois
Police agencies were on high-alert against drunk drivers during the Halloween season. How do we know? They said so! Algonquin and Buffalo Grove PDs are two examples.
Algonquin Police Increased Patrolling
The Algonquin Police Department implemented plans for Halloween DUI patrols. These plans were funded by the state of Illinois’ Department of Transportation.
Increased patrols were combined with an effort first reported last year employing what is known as “ghost cars.”
Ghost cars are the patrol cars you may have seen around that have darker decals as opposed to white lettering. It’s tough to identify these law enforcement vehicles.
Buffalo Grove PD Asked for Citizen Policing
Police in Buffalo Grove publicly announced that they would take a more concentrated and aggressive approach in catching intoxicated drivers.
The Buffalo Grove Police Department stated that this more aggressive approach would last from October 19th to November 3rd, encapsulating 3 weekends of Halloween partying.
In addition to their own heightened efforts, the Buffalo Grove Police Department offered rewards to local residents for reporting vehicles that appeared to be driven by someone under the influence.
When the report resulted in a DUI arrest, they could receive $100 in rewards through the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.
With increased police patrolling and the assistance of citizen reporting, we imagine when the official reports come in we’ll see an uptick in DUIs charged over this Halloween season. If you’re one of the many caught, understand what legal defenses may be available to you.
Five Affirmative Defenses to DUI Charges in Illinois
Since the circumstances of each DUI can be significantly different, there are a variety of defenses (or a combination fo them) that may be applicable to the accused.
Five of the most commonly applied defenses in DUI cases nationwide are necessity, duress, entrapment, a mistake of fact, and involuntary intoxication.
An individual may be required to drive under the influence as a product of necessity. In this defense, the accused must prove that they had to drive in order to prevent something worse from happening.
For example, an intoxicated person involved in a domestic dispute that genuinely feared for their life at the time may have had to drive away as a product of necessity.
#2: Under Duress
When a defendant was forced or coerced into committing an act under duress that they might not have otherwise.
In the case of a DUI, for instance, if someone held you at gunpoint while you were intoxicated, and made them drive under the influence, this was not an act you would have otherwise committed.
An entrapment defense exists where an officer somehow encourages an individual to drive while under the influence.
Say you were at a party, and an undercover agent urged you to get behind the wheel. If the defendant can show this entrapment, then they may be innocent of a DUI charge.
#4: Mistake of Fact
A mistake of fact defense may be presented if the accused has an honest and reasonable belief that they were not under the influence during the time they were operating a vehicle. Often these are instances when there is no chemical test taken at the time of the arrest.
#5: Involuntary Intoxication
When a person becomes intoxicated without their knowledge, this is known as “involuntary intoxication,” and it happens more often than you may think.
For example, if a person asked for a non-alcoholic beer at a party but was served an alcoholic beverage instead, they may have operated a vehicle assuming they were sober.
Four More DUI Defenses When Affirmative Arguments Don’t Apply
Where affirmative defenses don’t apply, there are still a number of arguments that may be relevant to your case. It is possible to challenge various circumstances surrounding the DUI charge.
During the process of reviewing your case, we do evaluate the actual process of your arrest and the subsequent handling of your case. Often we find significant mistakes that can mean the difference between losing your license and dismissing your charges altogether.
Ultimately, being convicted of a DUI can have serious repercussions both financially and on the quality of life that offenders lead. If you were charged with a DUI over Halloween, reach out to an experienced Illinois DUI attorney to learn how you can fight your charges.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Association, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.