Criminal defense may hinge on events prior to arrest

No Illinois motorist wants to think about getting pulled over on the way home from work or after a night out with friends. Many people stop off to have a beer during their travels and that can surely complicate matters if a police officer detects the smell of alcohol on a person’s breath. If he or she uses a breath test device to confirm a suspicion, the person driving may wind up needing a strong criminal defense.  

The events leading up to a drunk driving arrest may be critical to avoiding conviction. For instance, following an arrest, investigators often question a defendant. By law, no interrogation may take place if an individual is in police custody and under interrogation unless and until the accused has been informed of his or her Miranda Rights.  

Such rights include a person’s right to invoke the Fifth Amendment, more specifically, to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. An arresting officer must also inform a suspect that prosecutors can (and likely will) use anything he or she says or does against the suspect in court. A person must also be told that he or she has the right to hire an attorney or retain the services of a court-appointed representative if the individual cannot afford to hire an attorney.  

Any post-arrest questioning that takes place in the absence of having been told of Miranda Rights is unlawful. Such incidents often prompt Illinois defendants to request case dismissals. If a person accused of drunk driving or some other offense believes his or her rights have been violated, evidence of such may be used as a criminal defense strategy.