Dui Lawyer Chicago IL

DUI Defense

If you or a loved one has been charged with drunk driving, McHenry County DUI lawyer Robert H. Hanaford can help. Contact our law firm to know more about the legal services we provide across Mchenry County and Chicago, IL.

Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Serving McHenry County and Beyond

A skilled litigator and an accomplished negotiator, McHenry County DUI lawyer Robert H. Hanaford represents people who have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Mr. Hanaford is a former elected official who has been working on behalf of his neighbors in the community for more than three decades. He has dedicated his career to guiding clients through the legal process and working to protect their rights and interests. Illinois residents who need a criminal defense attorney can enlist his assistance in fighting any type of charge.

Mr. Hanaford has been certified through the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standard Field Sobriety Testing course. This is the same program in which all qualified DUI police officers receive training. NHTSA sets the national standard for administering field sobriety tests that police officers are expected to follow—but often do not.

Fighting a DUI Charge in Illinois

Driving under the influence refers to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs to the extent that you are not able to drive safely. The maximum blood alcohol content permitted for drivers in Illinois is 0.08 percent. A person whose BAC is below this level may still be charged with a DUI if he or she is deemed too impaired to drive.

DUI is a serious crime in Illinois, and it comes with the possibility of significant punishments. A person who is convicted of DUI automatically loses his or her driver’s license for one year, but he or she can apply for a special permit that allows for operating a car that has an ignition interlock device installed. A BAIID forces a driver to take a breath test before being able to operate a vehicle and subjects the driver to rolling tests throughout the course of each trip. A first-time DUI offender also faces a maximum $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail.

The high stakes involved in DUI cases mean that a person charged with driving under the influence should consult an experienced McHenry County DUI attorney as soon in the process as possible.

Taking this proactive approach will help you understand the charges against you, consider your rights and options, and explore all possible defenses.

There are a number of legal defenses that may be available to a person charged with DUI. Many cases come down to whether the police had a good reason to pull over the driver in the first place and enough proof to charge him or her with DUI. If they did not, any evidence obtained after the traffic stop or arrest is likely to be thrown out, usually ending the case.

In order to pull over a car, a police officer must have “reasonable suspicion” to believe that the driver may have committed a traffic infraction or crime. That suspicion could come from dangerous driving behaviors like swerving, speeding, or driving with missing taillights. If the officer has reason to suspect that a driver is under the influence, the officer may ask the driver to submit to a field sobriety test or breathalyzer. You have the right to refuse to submit to either a field sobriety or breathalyzer test. If the officer has probable cause to believe that someone has been driving under the influence, however, the officer still may arrest the driver for DUI.

After an arrest, you are required to submit to a chemical breath, blood, or urine test to check for drugs and alcohol. If you refuse this test, you are likely to have your license suspended for at least one year under Illinois’ implied consent law.

Seek Guidance from a DUI Lawyer in McHenry County

If you or a loved one has been charged with drunk driving, McHenry County DUI lawyer Robert H. Hanaford can help. Mr. Hanaford is a seasoned lawyer who vigorously advocates for the people whom he represents.

He can assist defendants in Crystal Lake, Cary, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, McHenry, Woodstock, and other areas of McHenry County.

He also represents people facing charges in Palatine, Arlington Heights, Elgin, and Barrington, among other communities in Cook, Kane, and Lake Counties. To schedule a Free Consultation, you can call Mr. Hanaford’s cell phone at (312) 636-4807. You can also Contact Us online, call the Chicago office at (312) 899-9020, or call the McHenry County office at (847) 516-5297.

BAC

DUI Attorney Serving McHenry County and Surrounding Areas

Robert H. Hanaford is a McHenry County DUI lawyer who represents people in many areas of Illinois who have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He is a seasoned attorney with more than three decades of experience fighting for clients in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. Mr. Hanaford is also a former elected official who has dedicated his career to serving the local community. He can help you understand the charges against you, explore your legal options, and vigorously protect your rights.

Mr. Hanaford has been certified through the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standard Field Sobriety Testing course. This is the same program in which all qualified DUI police officers receive training. NHTSA sets the national standard for administering field sobriety tests that police officers are expected to follow—but often do not.

Measuring Blood Alcohol Content

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is a measurement commonly used to determine whether a person has been driving under the influence. A person’s BAC depends on a number of factors, including how much and how fast they drink, as well as their weight and how much food they have consumed. In Pennsylvania, a person who has a BAC of 0.08 percent or more is considered legally impaired and unfit to drive. A person whose BAC registers between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent may also be charged with driving under the influence, if the driver’s behavior suggests that he or she is impaired. There are a number of tests that police officers and prosecutors use to measure a driver’s blood alcohol content. These include a roadside breathalyzer test, in addition to a blood, breath, or urine chemical examination following an arrest. If you are pulled over by a police officer under suspicion of DUI, you are not required to submit to a breathalyzer test. You can also decline to participate in a field sobriety test, in which an officer may ask you to perform basic physical tasks to gauge your impairment.

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, however, the state’s implied consent law obligates you to submit to a chemical BAC test. A person who is arrested for DUI and refuses to take the chemical test faces a license suspension of up to one year for first offenders. If you take the test and fail it, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least six months.

BAC tests raise a number of legal questions about when and where an officer can conduct a traffic stop and ask a driver to submit to an examination. There are also various scientific questions related to the accuracy and reliability of BAC tests. In some cases, for instance, it has been found that drivers with diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, or blood clots may falsely test positive for impairment when they have not been drinking. Testing equipment must be properly maintained, and examination administers must follow certain steps to ensure that the results are precise. If they fail to do so, the test results may not be admissible in court.

Protect Your Rights by Consulting a DUI Lawyer in McHenry County

DUI and other criminal charges often raise complicated legal issues that can make or break a case. This is why it is imperative that a person charged with driving under the influence or another offense has an experienced attorney in his or her corner. Robert H. Hanaford is a knowledgeable McHenry County DUI attorney who investigates cases thoroughly to give defendants a clear understanding of the charges against them. He works tirelessly to have charges reduced or dropped when possible. Mr. Hanaford can assist people in Lake in the Hills, Mchenry County, Cary, Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Woodstock, McHenry, and other communities throughout McHenry County. He also can help people who need a drunk driving attorney in Cook, Kane, or Lake County, including in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Elgin, and Barrington. You can Contact Us online, call the Chicago office at (312) 899-9020, or call the McHenry County office at (847) 516-5297. To set up a Free Consultation, call Mr. Hanaford’s cell phone at (312) 636-4807.

Breath Test

DUI Attorney Serving McHenry County and the Surrounding Area

Representing defendants in many areas of Illinois, McHenry County DUI lawyer Robert H. Hanaford can advise people who have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI is a serious charge, and Mr. Hanaford works aggressively to protect the rights of his clients. As a former state and local elected official, Mr. Hanaford has dedicated his career to serving his community. He also has been representing individuals in a wide range of legal matters for more than 30 years. Mr. Hanaford helps clients understand their rights and options while guiding them through the criminal justice process.

Mr. Hanaford has been certified through the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standard Field Sobriety Testing course. This is the same program in which all qualified DUI police officers receive training. NHTSA sets the national standard for administering field sobriety tests that police officers are expected to follow—but often do not.

Breath Testing Requirements

A breath test is one type of examination that police officers use to measure a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). A person with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered impaired under Pennsylvania law, and he or she may be charged with DUI if caught behind the wheel. Even someone whose BAC registers between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent may be charged with DUI if other evidence shows that the person was too intoxicated to drive.

If you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of DUI, an officer may ask you to submit to a roadside breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer is a hand-held device that estimates a person’s BAC based on a breath sample. The test has a number of flaws, and results may be skewed based on medical conditions, hyperventilation, weather conditions, or other factors.

An officer must have reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated in order to pull over your car and ask you to take a breathalyzer test. That suspicion may be based on erratic driving behavior or physical clues like bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol. Police usually use the breathalyzer test to try to establish probable cause that a person has been drinking and driving. Probable cause is a higher legal standard than reasonable suspicion, and it must be established before a police officer can make a DUI arrest.

It is imperative to understand that you have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. A driver need not submit to any testing until after he or she is arrested for DUI. At that point, you are required to submit to a separate chemical breath, blood, or urine test. If you refuse that test, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year. If you take the test and fail it, your license will be revoked for at least six months.

Discuss Your DUI Charges with a McHenry County Lawyer

If you are facing prosecution for DUI or a related offense, drunk driving lawyer Robert H. Hanaford has the skills and experience to fight the charges against you. Breath tests may be challenged on a number of grounds, and those administered without reasonable suspicion or probable cause under the circumstances often may be thrown out. Mr. Hanaford takes pride in offering personalized, comprehensive services to the people whom he represents. As a McHenry County DUI attorney, he can represent people in Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Woodstock, McHenry, and Mchenry County, among other communities. He also can assist defendants throughout Cook, Kane, and Lake Counties, including in Elgin, Arlington Heights, Palatine, and Barrington. You can Contact Us online, call the Chicago office at (312) 899-9020, or call the McHenry County office at (847) 516-5297. To set up a Free Consultation, call Mr. Hanaford’s cell phone at (312) 636-4807.

Crashing While Intoxicated

Knowledgeable DUI Attorney Representing McHenry County Residents

McHenry County DUI lawyer Robert H. Hanaford represents people who have been charged with drunk or drugged driving, including in cases involving car accidents. Mr. Hanaford helps the people whom he represents understand the charges against them, navigate the criminal justice process, and build the strongest defense possible under the circumstances. He is a former elected official who has been actively involved in the local community for much of his professional life. Mr. Hanaford is also a seasoned attorney who has been fighting for the rights of his clients for three decades.

Mr. Hanaford has been certified through the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standard Field Sobriety Testing course. This is the same program in which all qualified DUI police officers receive training. NHTSA sets the national standard for administering field sobriety tests that police officers are expected to follow—but often do not.

How Police Check for Impairment after a Crash

Car accidents are an unfortunate possibility at any time that you get behind the wheel of a car. It is important to understand that a crash, by itself, is not enough to prove that one of the drivers involved was drunk or impaired by drugs at the time. The accident could have been caused by a wide variety of factors, from poor road conditions to dangerous behavior like speeding, failing to use turn signals, or texting while driving. That said, police officers who arrive on the scene following a collision often check the drivers for intoxication. Medical personnel are also required by state law to turn over the results of any tests performed on people who receive treatment as a result of a car accident.

If the police suspect that one driver in a crash is under the influence, they may ask the driver to submit to certain tests to determine his or her blood alcohol content (BAC). In Illinois, a driver whose BAC is 0.08 percent or more is considered legally intoxicated and unfit to drive. A driver whose BAC registers somewhere between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent may also be charged with DUI, if other evidence shows that he or she was driving while impaired. Police officers often ask a driver suspected of DUI to submit to a field sobriety test, in which the driver is asked to perform basic physical tasks, or to take a breathalyzer exam to determine his or her BAC. A driver is not required to submit to these or any other tests, unless the driver has been arrested and charged with DUI.

However, a driver may be forced to submit to a chemical breath, blood, or urine test following an arrest. If you decline the test at that point, your driver’s license will likely be suspended for up to one year if you have no previous history of DUI.

A person charged with DUI as a result of an accident involving one or more other vehicles may also face additional charges and penalties related to the crash. These often include criminal charges like aggravated assault and battery or involuntary manslaughter. The driver may also be subject to civil liability for injuries related to the crash. A driver found to be intoxicated at the time of an accident is likely to be deemed negligent under Illinois personal injury law, and therefore that person may be liable for money damages that any victims incurred.

Consult a McHenry County Lawyer to Fight a DUI Charge

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, drunk driving attorney Robert H. Hanaford can help. Mr. Hanaford is a seasoned McHenry County DUI attorney who regularly presents seminars through the state bar association and writes on trial practice and other topics for attorneys and judges. He understands the legal issues that regularly come up in these cases and knows how to build a solid defense for the people whom he represents. Mr. Hanaford proudly serves people in Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Woodstock, Cary, McHenry, Mchenry County, and other communities throughout McHenry County. We also can represent defendants in many areas of Cook, Kane, and Lake Counties, such as Arlington Heights, Palatine, Barrington, and Elgin. You can Contact Us online, call the Chicago office at (312) 899-9020, or call the McHenry County office at (847) 516-5297. To set up a Free Consultation, call Mr. Hanaford’s cell phone at (312) 636-4807.

DUI for Commercial Drivers

Drunk Driving Attorney Defending McHenry County Residents

Robert H. Hanaford is a McHenry County DUI lawyer who represents commercial drivers and other people who are being prosecuted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Illinois. With more than 30 years of experience from which to draw insights, Mr. Hanaford guides defendants through the legal process from start to finish. He is committed to assisting other members of his community in their times of need.

Mr. Hanaford has been certified through the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standard Field Sobriety Testing course. This is the same program in which all qualified DUI police officers receive training. NHTSA sets the national standard for administering field sobriety tests that police officers are expected to follow—but often do not.

Guidance for Commercial Drivers Facing DUI Charges

The penalties are steep for anyone convicted of a DUI in Illinois. They are particularly significant for commercial drivers, who could lose their right to make a living behind the wheel. It is important to understand the restrictions on drinking and driving, to know your rights if you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, and to consult an experienced McHenry County DUI lawyer if you are charged with a crime.

Truckers, delivery drivers, and others with commercial licenses are subject to stricter limits on their blood alcohol content than other motorists. A person’s BAC depends on a number of factors, including how much and how fast they drink, not to mention their weight and how much food they have consumed. The general BAC limit for drivers in Illinois is .08 percent. This means that a driver whose BAC is above this level is likely to be charged with DUI. For drivers operating commercial vehicles, however, the legal limit is .04 percent.

There are two ways in which the police may test a driver’s BAC: roadside breathalyzer tests and chemical, blood, breath, or urine examinations. A driver who is pulled over on suspicion of DUI has the right to decline to take a breathalyzer test. In the event that the driver is later arrested and charged with DUI, however, he or she will automatically have his or her license suspended for failing or refusing to take a chemical test after the arrest. For commercial drivers, the suspension also applies to their Commercial Driver’s License. A commercial driver who is convicted of a second offense risks losing his or her CDL for life.

However, officers are required by state and federal laws to have a reasonable suspicion of a traffic offense in order to pull over a driver. They also need a reasonable suspicion of DUI to ask a driver to take a breathalyzer and probable cause that a crime has been committed in order to make an arrest. Mr. Hanaford scours evidence and witness testimony to test whether police officers have lived up to these responsibilities in every case. He works to get BAC test results thrown out in the event that they have been unlawfully obtained.

Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer in McHenry County

Robert H. Hanaford uses a variety of strategies to help clients defend drunk driving charges, including by ensuring that police officers follow the law in making stops and arrests. With offices conveniently located in Chicago and Mchenry County, our firm proudly serves people in Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Cary, Lake in the Hills, Woodstock, McHenry, and Fox River Grove, among other communities. Mr. Hanaford also represents defendants who need a drunk driving attorney in Cook, Kane, and Lake Counties, including in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Barrington, and Elgin. You can Contact McHenry County DUI attorney Robert H. Hanaford online or by calling the Chicago office at (312) 899-9020 or the McHenry County office at (847) 516-5297. For emergencies and to set up a Free Consultation, call Mr. Hanaford’s cell phone at (312) 636-4807.

DUI Penalties

McHenry County Attorney Experienced in Drunk Driving Cases

DUI is a serious criminal offense that can result in life-changing consequences. McHenry County DUI lawyer Robert H. Hanaford represents people throughout Illinois who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as a variety of other crimes. Mr. Hanaford is committed to building the strongest possible defense for the defendants whom he assists.

Mr. Hanaford has been certified through the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standard Field Sobriety Testing course. This is the same program in which all qualified DUI police officers receive training. NHTSA sets the national standard for administering field sobriety tests that police officers are expected to follow—but often do not.

Common Penalties for DUI Offenses

Whether you are a first-time or repeat offender, a DUI conviction typically carries penalties like fines, a license suspension, and potentially time behind bars. These consequences will vary, based on factors like the driver’s age, blood alcohol content level, and any prior DUI history. The penalties are enhanced for truckers and drivers of other commercial vehicles, as well as for people who are found to be drunk while transporting children. A driver who injures another person in a DUI crash also faces additional felony charges.

A first-time DUI offender will have his or her driving privileges revoked for one year (two if the person is under 21) and will face fines of as much as $2,500 and up to one year in jail. For second convictions, the license suspension extends to five years. These convictions also include a mandatory five days in jail or 240 hours of community service. A driver who is convicted of three separate DUIs will lose his or her license to operate a vehicle for 10 years. Driving privileges are revoked for life in the event of a fourth conviction.

The good news for defendants is that changes to state laws now allow some drivers to apply for restricted or monitored device driving permits. These permits allow the person to drive only a vehicle that is equipped with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device. A BAIID forces a driver to take a breath test before he or she can start the car. The device prevents the engine from starting if the driver registers more than a predetermined blood alcohol content in the breath test. It also requires the driver to complete other breath tests throughout the course of a trip.

Consult a DUI Lawyer in McHenry County or Beyond

Given the stakes involved, it is important that a person charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If you or a loved one has been charged with drunk driving, McHenry County DUI attorney Robert H. Hanaford can help. Mr. Hanaford has been fighting on behalf of his neighbors in the community for more than three decades. He can navigate you through the legal process and aggressively fight the charges against you. From offices in Chicago and Mchenry County, our firm proudly serves people in Lake in the Hills, Woodstock, Cary, Crystal Lake, Algonquin, McHenry, and other areas of McHenry County. We also represent defendants in Cook, Kane, and Lake Counties, such as in Arlington Heights, Elgin, Palatine, and Barrington. You can Contact us online, reach the Chicago office at (312) 899-9020, or reach the McHenry County office at (847) 516-5297. For emergencies or to set up a Free Consultation with a drunk driving attorney, call Mr. Hanaford’s cell phone at (312) 636-4807.

First-Time DUI

Drunk Driving Attorney Serving McHenry County and Surrounding Areas

Robert H. Hanaford is a McHenry County first-time DUI lawyer who represents people who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Illinois. He has guided people through the legal process with experience, respect, and compassion for more than 30 years, working diligently to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible. Mr. Hanaford is committed to keeping clients fully apprised of their rights and options at each step of the way.

Mr. Hanaford has been certified through the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standard Field Sobriety Testing course. This is the same program in which all qualified DUI police officers receive training. NHTSA sets the national standard for administering field sobriety tests that police officers are expected to follow—but often do not.

Fighting Charges of First-Time DUI in Illinois

Illinois law makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. A person whose BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08 percent may also be charged with DUI if the circumstances indicate that he or she is too impaired to drive. The penalties for driving under the influence vary, but typically they include a license suspension, a fine of up to $2,500, and potentially as long as a year in jail. This is why it is vital that a person charged with DUI consult an experienced McHenry County first-time DUI lawyer as soon as possible in order to start building his or her case.

A police officer must have reasonable suspicion that you have committed a traffic offense or another crime in order to pull over your car. The officer must also have a reasonable suspicion that you have been drinking in order to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol content. To actually arrest you and charge you with DUI, moreover, the officer must have probable cause to believe that you have been drinking and driving. Police usually use breathalyzer results, field test results, and other evidence, like a smell of alcohol, slurred speech, and blurry eyes, to establish probable cause.

Drivers – especially those who have never been charged with DUI – need to understand that you do not need to agree to take a breathalyzer test unless and until you are arrested and charged with DUI. Even at that point, you can refuse to take a breath, blood, or urine chemical test. However, it is important to keep in mind that refusing a chemical test after an arrest means your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for one year.

One of the strongest defenses that many drivers have in DUI cases is that the police did not have reasonable grounds either to pull the car over in the first place or to ask the driver to submit to a breathalyzer test. If a judge agrees, the court will typically throw out any evidence obtained after that time.

Protect Your Rights by Consulting a First-Time DUI Lawyer in McHenry County

Dedicated to protecting the rights of criminal defendants, McHenry County first-time DUI attorney Robert H. Hanaford has been representing people charged with drunk driving for more than three decades. He understands how to build the strongest possible defense for the people whom he represents. With offices in Chicago and Mchenry County, our firm proudly serves residents of Lake in the Hills, Woodstock, Cary, Crystal Lake, Algonquin, McHenry, and other areas of McHenry County. We also represent people who need a drunk driving attorney in Cook, Kane, and Lake Counties, including in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Elgin, and Barrington. You can Contact Us online, reach the Chicago office at (312) 899-9020, or reach the McHenry County office at (847) 516-5297. For emergencies and to set up a Free Consultation, call Mr. Hanaford’s cell phone at (312) 636-4807.

Repeat DUI

Drunk Driving Lawyer Representing McHenry County Residents and Others

With over three decades of experience, McHenry County repeat DUI attorney Robert H. Hanaford represents people who have been charged with drunk driving and many other offenses. His experience in the courtroom and at the negotiating table helps Mr. Hanaford give clients an honest assessment of their cases and craft strategies tailored to their circumstances. He carefully guides the people whom he represents through the criminal justice process, keeping them aware of their rights and options at each step of the way while fighting to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible.

Mr. Hanaford has been certified through the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) Standard Field Sobriety Testing course. This is the same program in which all qualified DUI police officers receive training. NHTSA sets the national standard for administering field sobriety tests that police officers are expected to follow—but often do not.

Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenders

A DUI charge is a serious situation with potentially significant consequences for anyone, and especially for a driver who has previously been convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person convicted of a second DUI will have his or her driving privileges limited (at least) for five years following the last conviction. The driver also faces a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service. In addition, the court may impose thousands of dollars in penalties, depending on the circumstances. The penalties increase for each additional DUI conviction. A person convicted of DUI four times loses his or her driving privileges for life.

Ignition Interlock Devices

A recent change in state law is intended to allow people convicted of DUI to retain their ability to drive to and from work and for other purposes, while also keeping the roads safe for the general public. Second-time DUI offenders used to automatically lose their driver’s licenses for five years. For third-time offenders, the revocation period is 10 years. In some cases, however, drivers can apply for permission to continue to operate a car as long as the vehicle is equipped with a device to monitor their alcohol consumption.

A breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) forces a driver to take a breath test before he or she can start the car. The BAIID blocks the engine from starting if the driver registers more than a predetermined blood alcohol content in the breath test. It also requires the driver to complete other breath tests throughout the course of a trip. In these rolling tests, the device alerts the driver if he or she has registered a blood alcohol content above the limit and slowly turns the engine off until the driver passes another test.

Discuss Your Repeat DUI Charge with a McHenry County Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with drunk driving, McHenry County repeat DUI lawyer Robert H. Hanaford can help. Mr. Hanaford understands how prosecutors tend to handle these cases, and he knows how to build the strongest possible legal defense for the clients whom he represents. He also works aggressively to reduce the impact of a conviction by helping clients try to get their driving privileges restored. From offices in Chicago and Mchenry County, Mr. Hanaford represents people in Lake in the Hills, Woodstock, Cary, Crystal Lake, Algonquin, McHenry, and other areas of McHenry County. He also can assist defendants in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Elgin, and Barrington, among other communities in Cook, Kane and Lake Counties. You can Contact Us online, reach the Chicago office at (312) 899-9020, or reach the McHenry County office at (847) 516-5297. For emergencies and to set up a Free Consultation with a drunk driving attorney, call Mr. Hanaford’s cell phone at (312) 636-4807.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

In the late 1970s and early 1980s the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) noticed that a high percentage of fatal vehicle crashes involved alcohol impaired drivers. Studies were implemented to devise roadside DUI tests that officers could administer to determine whether a driver was under the influence of alcohol. As a McHenry County DUI lawyer, I am familiar with the tests that these studies examined and their findings.

After conducting studies there were three tests considered validated for determining whether a driver may be alcohol impaired. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN), the Walk and Turn Test (WAT) and the One Leg Stand (OLS). A 24 hour program was developed to train police in administering these standardized tests. Each test must be administered in accordance with NHTSA standards. There are two phases to the test: The instructional phase where the police officer explains how the test is to be performed and performance of the test by the driver.

The tests are designed to test the driver’s balance and rely upon the concept of divided attention. In my opinion as a McHenry County DUI lawyer, the tests are designed for failure and obviously used to further the officer’s ability to establish probable cause that the driver is DUI.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The first test, and most reliable if administered properly (88% validation), is the HGN. Nystagmus is the involuntary jerking of the eyes which may be a clue that the driver is DUI. Alcohol and other drugs can cause HGN. It is noteworthy that there are probably 45 or so medical conditions that may cause nystagmus other than alcohol, such as developmental, stroke, neurological conditions, certain medications for epilepsy and even fatigue.

In general, the officer has the driver stand straight with feet together and has the driver follow a stimulus that may be a pen, light or finger. The stimulus is held about 12-15 inches away and slightly above eye level. The driver is instructed to follow the stimulus with only his eyes, keeping the head still. The officer first must conduct a medical assessment by determining whether the driver has equal pupil size and no resting nystagmus. Unequal pupil size may indicate a neurological condition and resting nystagmus may be a medical condition or indicate that the driver is on a Dissociative Anesthetic drug such as PCP which could raise an officer safety issue. The officer then checks for equal tracking of the eyes by moving the stimulus to the left and then the right two times; both eyes should track together or there could be a medical condition.

The actual test then begins and consists of four parts, always starting with the left eye and always conducted twice. First the officer moves the stimulus to the left and back and to the right and back twice. Here he is checking for smooth pursuit of the eyes. Second, the officer checks for nystagmus at maximum deviation by moving the stimulus all the way to the left and right until the white of the eye cannot be seen. He must hold the stimulus at maximum deviation for 4 seconds and there must be a distinct and sustained nystagmus. Third, the officer will check for the onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees; if found, the test is considered accurate for a BAC of .08. The sooner the onset of nystagmus, the higher the degree of impairment. Finally, the officer will perform a test for vertical nystagmus by raising the stimulus vertically above the driver’s head. If there is vertical nystagmus it is indicative of a very high BAC.

Walk and Turn

Here the officer has the driver take nine heal to toe steps along an actual or imagined line while counting each step, arms at side, looking at feet and then turn as directed and return nine steps counting each step. Once the driver is told to start, he must complete the test without stopping. The officer is looking for the driver to start before told to start, not complete the test, not walk heal to toe, take the wrong number of steps, use arms for balance, not properly turn to return and walk off line.

One Leg Stand

The driver is instructed to stand with feet together and when told raise either foot parallel to the ground, look at the foot, arms at sides and count 1001, 1002 to 1030 or told to stop. The officer is looking for the driver to put foot down, use arms for balance, sway and hop.

As a practical matter, if asked to exit the vehicle to perform the field sobriety tests, the officer has already made up his mind to arrest for DUI and is only further building a case for probable cause to arrest and for the prosecutor to establish DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.

Defense

Defense against the field sobriety tests administered requires evaluating each test as performed and recorded in the police report and on available video. Each test must be reviewed to determine whether the procedures were followed exactly as required by the NHTSA Manual. For example, the officer often fails to administer the HGN correctly by failing to perform an initial medical assessment and then by failing to conduct each test twice. Also, officers often fail to hold the stimulus at maximum deviation for the required four seconds. In addition, having the driver facing the flashing police lights and passing traffic can cause Optokinetic Nystagmus.

The ground upon which the WAT and OLS are performed may be a basis for arguing the test is unfair. If the ground is slanted or covered with debris anyone would have a difficult time performing the tests. Moreover, older drivers have been noted to have a more difficult time balancing on one foot and walking heal to toe. In addition, a person may have medical conditions with their feet, ankles, knees, etc. that may be used to cast doubt on the test with the assistance of a McHenry County DUI attorney.

Three Phases of a DUI Investigation

There are three phases to a DUI investigation that police are taught during the 24 hour National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Tests course. Each phase is designed to accumulate evidence to ultimately establish probable cause to arrest for DUI. Robert Hanaford of the Law Offices of Robert H. Hanaford is an experienced McHenry County DUI attorney who represents clients in the Chicago area and McHenry County, Illinois. Robert has received his National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) instructor certificate to teach the 24 NHTSA police DUI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Tests course. If you have been charged with a DUI and looking for an experienced DUI attorney in McHenry County, call the Law Offices of Robert H. Hanaford at 24/7 on Robert’s cell phone at 312-636-4807.

The following is a discussion of the three phases of a DUI investigation.

PHASE ONE is Vehicle in Motion. The police officer needs reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle. Somehow the officer’s attention is drawn to the vehicle, perhaps because of a citizen 911call or observing a traffic violation. The officer now decides whether to follow the vehicle and or stop the vehicle. Often the officer will follow the vehicle to obtain initial evidence of impaired driving. Interestingly, speeding is NOT indicative of impaired driving. However, driving too slow is a clue that the driver may be impaired. Other clues include disobeying traffic control devices, swerving within the lane of travel, swerving over the center line or edge line, delayed response to a traffic control device (such as staying stopped when a light turns green or slamming on the brakes for a stop sign or red light), stopping before or after the stop line, hitting the curb or entering the oncoming traffic lane during a turn.

The officer then must decide to pull the vehicle over or not. If the decision to stop is decided, the officer will observe the response time for the driver to recognize the squad car lights and pull over and how the driver pulls over. A driver that continues to drive oblivious to the flashing lights and then pulls over hitting the curb is providing evidence toward probable cause of DUI.

PHASE TWO is Personal Contact. It is here that the police officer first confronts the driver and is taught to use all senses to determine whether the driver may be DUI: Sight, smell and hearing.

The officer is looking for how the driver appears and responds to questions and whether there is the smell of alcoholic beverage. The officer will employ what is known as divided attention tactics by asking for the driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. He will then often interject with a question such as where are you coming from and where are you going, all the while observing the driver’s coordination in retrieving the requested documents and how the driver responds to the questions. Are the answers coherent? Is the driver fumbling around for his license? Does the driver have slurred speech and glassy eyes? Does the driver admit to drinking and state an amount? Everything going on at this point is to compile evidence of probable cause to arrest for DUI and ultimately to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The decision at this point is whether to request the driver to exit the vehicle to administer the field sobriety tests that are discussed in another article.

PHASE THREE is Pre-Arrest Screening. The officer requests that the driver exit the vehicle. You are not required to exit the vehicle unless the officer decides to arrest you. However, once the officer decides to have the driver exit the vehicle he has likely made up his mind that he will arrest the driver for DUI. The officer will observe how the driver exits the vehicle. Does he have difficulty getting out of the vehicle? Does he lean and hang on to the vehicle for balance? Does he have difficulty walking and standing.

Next the officer will administer the field sobriety tests. Again, by this point the officer is usually just accumulating more evidence of probable cause for a DUI arrest and to help the prosecutor establish proof of DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.

Finally, the decision to arrest or not is made. If arrested, the driver will be hand cuffed, placed in the police car and transported to the police station where he will be asked to take a breathalyzer test.

Summary

Note that a driver is only required to produce their license, registration and proof of insurance. The driver is not required to answer any questions and is not required to exit the vehicle or take field sobriety tests. In fact, a driver could only roll the window down enough to hand through the requested documents avoiding the smell of alcoholic Beveridge from being smelled. The officer must then decide whether he has enough evidence for probable cause to arrest. At that point, the driver would be required to exit the vehicle. In addition, the refusal to take the field sobriety tests would be admissible at trial as a presumption of impairment.

For further questions and a free consultation, call McHenry County DUI lawyer Robert H. Hanaford at 312-636-4807.

Pilot DUI Arrest

A Pilot arrested for DUI/DWI risks certificate action by the FAA if the “vehicle action” is not reported to the FAA “not later than 60 days after the motor vehicle action.”

Attorney Robert Hanaford represents DUI and DWI clients in McHenry County and the Chicago Area. He is also a licensed pilot and on the AOPA Legal Advisory Panel. Hanaford has received certification to instruct the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) 24 hour police DUI Detection and Field Sobriety Testing course. If you need an experienced McHenry County DUI lawyer regarding a Pilot DUI arrest, please Contact Robert Hanaford immediately.

FAR 61.15(e) requires any person holding a certificate issued by the FAA (Which would include pilots and A&Ps) to give written notice to the FAA any “motor vehicle action” not later than 60 days after the motor vehicle action.”

Serious Consequences Beyond the DUI Arrest

Vehicle action is the operative phrase in the regulation and the failure to provide the required report within 60 days may have more serious consequences than the DUI arrest. FAR 61.15(f) provides that the failure to report is grounds for several sanctions, including: one, denial of an application for any certificate, rating such as an instrument or multi-engine rating for up to a year after the date of the motor vehicle action; two, suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating held by the pilot or such other covered person. As you can see, the sanctions for not reporting can be more serious than the action taken by the FAA for the actual DUI/DWI. The following is a link to the entire text of the FAR section.

The question is often asked whether the FAA will discover that a “vehicle action” occurred. Yes they will because all such incidents are reported to the National Driver Registry and the FAA has personnel whose only job function is to go over the data base comparing the names and cross referencing against the names of pilots. The FAA has the right to search the National Registry because a waiver of the pilot’s right to privacy for the disclosure of such information is required as a condition of obtaining a medical certification.

What is a Vehicle Action?

The question is what must be reported; or more specifically, what is a vehicle action. FAR 61.15(c) states that a motor vehicle action means: One, A conviction …for DUI/DWI involving the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, while impaired by alcohol or a drug, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug; two, the cancellation, suspension, or revocation of a license to operate a motor vehicle... for a cause related to the operation of a motor vehicle while DUI/DWI by alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof; or three, denial... of an application for a license to operate a motor vehicle for a DUI/DWI while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof.

When the report is filed with the FAA, the FAA will respond with a letter acknowledging the report and thanking you for your cooperation.

It is important to note that there may be two reporting requirements. For example, if your license is suspended under the Illinois Statutory Summary Suspension law (or similar law of another state) because you refused to take a breathalyzer test or you did take the test and registered an alcohol level of .08 or greater, the reporting requirement is triggered even if your attorney manages to rescind the suspension and your license was only suspended for several days. Second, if convicted of the offense of DUI, you must again report.

The effect of the reporting is that when you appear for your scheduled medical examination you must now check yes for question 18 v regarding whether ever arrested or convicted of an alcohol and/or drug offense.

The AIM will not be permitted to issue your medical certificate (as was allowed in the past). The issuance is now deferred and must be reviewed by the FAA Aeromedical Division which will likely want to review the arrest report, court documents and National Drivers Registry.

Representation and Getting Results

In representing a pilot in a DUI it is crucial to avoid any vehicle action (such as a suspension) and a conviction. The best result would be to beat the charge or in the alternative obtain a reduction of the charge to supervision for reckless driving. Notably, question 18 v seems much broader than the reporting requirements as it asks about an arrest, not whether there was vehicle action. Therefore, one may avoid the need to report and still have to suffer through a deferment if Medical Application question 18v is checked yes. However, absent vehicle action, it is likely that your name will not be in the National Drivers Registry.

It remains to be seen what the regulations will be in view of passage into law of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights II on July 15, 2016. Here is a link to the AOPA website.

For questions and a Free Consultation on any drunk driving arrest or DUI charge call McHenry County DUI attorney Robert Hanaford anytime on his cell phone: 312-636-4807.