N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602
8621 W. Golf Road
Niles, Illinois 60714
We represent clients charged with felony & misdemeanor driving under the influence. We advocate for license reinstatement, reduced charges, and dismissal of charges. We handle traffic violations including speeding tickets, reckless driving, and driving without a license. We assist clients at hearings before the Illinois Secretary of State with drivers license issues including reinstatement, obtaining a restricted license to drive, and reduction of license suspension periods.
The Law Offices of Michael D. Baker represent Illinois clients charged with violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code, including DUI, Driving During Revocation/Suspension, Illegally Transporting Alcohol and many other offensives. Driving under the Influence, DUI, or DWI in some jurisdictions, carry with them the possibility of severe penalties especially Felony DUI and Felony Driving while Suspended/Revoked. Our attorneys offer you aggressive representation in Cook County Courts, including Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood, Bridgeview and Markham, Lake County Courts, including Waukegan, Grayslake, Lakehurst and Mundelein, DuPage County, including Wheaton, Downer’s Grove, Addison and Glendale Heights.
Illinois traffic tickets, including DUI, Reckless Driving, Improper Lane Usage, Failure to Yield, Following too closely, Leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or property damage, speeding in a School or Construction Zone carry with them possible loss of driving privileges and increased insurance rates. Experienced Illinois DUI and Traffic lawyers can help minimize or prevent the penalties the State will be seeking. The loss of driving privileges can cause great hardship for many individuals. Since DUI and traffic violations affect your insurance premiums and possibly even your right to drive, it would be wise to consult with experienced attorneys before you plead guilty on a DUI charge or file for informal or formal hearing to restore your driving privileges. You may be eligible for traffic school or for a restricted driving permit or reinstatement with the Secretary of State's office.
Illinois DUI law enforcement officers are trained to look for the following
symptoms of possible Illinois DUI’s:
- Turning With Wide Radius
- Straddling Center or Lane Marker
- Appearing to be Drunk
- Almost Striking Object or Vehicle
- Driving on Other Than Designated Roadway
- Speed Slower Than 10 M.P.H. Below Limit
- Stopping Without Cause in Traffic Lane
- Following Too Closely
- Tires on Center or Lane Marker
- Braking Erradically
- Driving Into Opposing Crossing Traffic
- Signaling Inconsistantly With Driving Actions
- Slow Response to Traffic Signals
- Stopping Inappropiately (Other Than in Traffic Lane)
- Turning Abruptly or Illegally
- Accelerating or Decelerating Rapidly
- Headlights Off
- Odor of alcohol on breath
Standardized Field Sobriety Testing
The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is a battery of three tests
administered and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validated
indicators of impairment and establish probable cause for arrest.
tests were developed as a result of research sponsored by the National
HighwayTraffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and conducted by the
Southern California Research Institute. The three tests of the SFST
the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the walk-and-turn, the one-leg
These tests are administered systematically and are evaluated according
to measured responses of the suspect.
Horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball which
occurs naturally as the eyes gaze to the side. Under normal
circumstances, nystagmus occurs when the eyes are rotated at high
peripheral angles. However, when a person is impaired by alcohol,
nystagmus is exaggerated and may occur at lesser angles. An
alcohol-impaired person will also often have difficulty smoothly
tracking a moving object. In the HGN test, the officer observes the
of a suspect as the suspect follows a slowly moving object such as
or small flashlight, horizontally with his eyes. The examiner looks
three indicators of impairment in each eye: if the eye cannot follow
moving object smoothly, if jerking is distinct when the eye is at
maximum deviation, and if the angle of onset of jerking is within
degrees of center. If, between the two eyes, four or more clues appear,
the suspect likely has a BAC of 0.10 or greater. NHTSA research
indicates that this test allows proper classification of approximately
77 percent of suspects. HGN may also indicate consumption of seizure
medications, phencyclidine, a variety of inhalants, barbiturates,
other depressants. Although scientific in appearance, HGN is highly
unreliable due to the lack of expertise of the officer in administering
or interpreting the test.
Divided Attention Testing
The walk-and-turn test and one-leg stand test are “divided attention”
tests that are easily performed by most sober people. They require
suspect to listen to and follow instructions while performing simple
physical movements. Impaired persons have difficulty with tasks
requiring their attention to be divided between simple mental and
In the walk-and-turn test, the subject is directed to take nine steps,
heel-to-toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect
must turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite
direction. The examiner looks for seven indicators of impairment:
suspect cannot keep balance while listening to the instructions,
before the instructions are finished, stops while walking to regain
balance, does not touch heel-to-toe, uses arms to balance, loses
while turning, or takes an incorrect number of steps. NHTSA research
indicates that 68 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more
indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.10
In the one-leg stand test, the suspect is instructed to stand with one
foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by
thousands (One thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to
the foot down. The officer times the subject for a 30 seconds. The
officer looks for four indicators of impairment, including swaying
balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance, and
putting the foot down. NHTSA research indicates that 65 percent of
individuals who exhibit two or more such indicators in the performance
of the test will have a BAC of 0.10 of greater. The effectiveness
SFST in court testimony and evidence depends upon the cumulative
of impairment indicators provided by the three-test battery.
1. ILLEGAL STOP OF PERSON OR VEHICLE – a driver cannot be stopped unless the officer has a reasonable and articulate basis to believe that a traffic law or other law has been violated. Similarly, a person cannot be seized unless a violation has occurred.
2. WEAVING INSIDE THE LANES IS NOT ILLEGAL – weaving without crossing any lines is not a violation of the law, and a vehicle cannot be stopped for that reason.
3. ANONYMOUS REPORT OF DRUNK DRIVING -- a car cannot be stopped simply because an anonymous citizen reported that the driver was drunk.
4. STANDARD FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING IS INACCURATE – in healthy individuals, the one-leg stand test is only 65% accurate, and the walk-and-turn test is only 68% accurate in determining if a person is under the influence. Those persons with injuries, medical conditions, 50 pounds or greater overweight, and 65 years or older cannot be validly judged by these tests.
5. NON-STANDARDIZED FIELD TESTS ARE INVALID – neither the Federal Government (NHTSA) nor medical science considers touching your finger to your nose, or saying the alphabet, or counting backwards, as valid sobriety tests.
6. BREATH TESTING IS INACCURATE – virtually all experts concede that one breath test alone is unreliable. The Illinois Supreme Court has remarked that breathalyzers are not foolproof. Finally, breath testing in Illinois is subject to various inaccuracies, including a +/- 12.5% variance, non-specificity for ethanol, etc.
7. BOOKING ROOM VIDEOS – Many police stations videotape suspects at the police station, where their speech is clear and their balance is perfect, in spite of police testimony to the contrary.
8. IN-SQUAD VIDEOS – more and more often, the suspect’s driving and performance on field tests is being recorded; often contradicting police testimony.
9. FAILURE TO PROVIDE SPEEDY TRIAL – If a client is not provided with a trial within 120 to 160 days of demand, through delays of the court or prosecutor, the charges must be dismissed.
10. POLICE BLOOD TEST INACCURATE – Many times, police blood testing fails to follow prescribed rules of testing, analysis, or preservation recommendations.
11. HOSPITAL BLOOD TEST INACCURATE – Hospital blood tests overestimate a person’s true level by as much as 25% in healthy, uninjured individuals, and are not statistically reliable in severely injured persons.
12. BREATH TEST OPERATOR UNLICENSED – An Illinois Breath Test Operator must possess a valid, unexpired operator’s license, or the breath test result is inadmissible.
13. BREATHALYZER MACHINE MALFUNCTIONS – if there is a malfunction or repair of the breath test instrument within 62 days before or after a suspect’s breath test, the results of the suspect’s test are presumed invalid.
14. BREATH TEST OPERATOR LICENSE EXPIRED -- An Illinois Breath Test Operator must possess an unexpired operator’s license, or the breath test result is inadmissible. Licenses expire automatically every 3 years.
15. BREATH TEST DEVICE NOT APPROVED – A breath testing instrument must be listed on the Federal List of Approved Breath Evidential Instruments and the ISP approved list of Devices, or the results are inadmissible.
16. FAILURE TO PROVE DRIVING – a defendant’s admission to driving, without more, does not prove a charge of driving under the influence.
17. INDEPENDENT WITNESSES – often times, independent witnesses to accidents, bartenders, hospital personnel and others can provide crucial evidence of the defendant’s sobriety.
18. FAILURE TO MIRANDIZE – prosecutors may not use as evidence the statements of a defendant in custody for a DUI when the police have failed to properly issue Miranda Warnings.
19. FIELD SOBRIETY TEST IMPROPERLY ADMINISTERED – according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, improperly administered field tests are not valid evidence of intoxication.
20. OFFICER’S PRIOR DISCIPLINARY RECORD – a police officer’s previous disciplinary record can be used to attack the officer’s credibility.
21. PORTABLE BREATH TEST INADMISSIBLE – Illinois law prohibits the use of portable breath testing results as evidence at trial in a DUI case.
22. PORTABLE BREATH TEST IMPROPERLY ADMINISTERED – The manufacturers of portable breath testing devices require a minimum of two tests to consider the results evidential in nature.
23. FAILURE TO CONDUCT OBSERVATION PERIOD – Illinois requires that a driver be observed continuously for a minimum twenty minutes prior to a breath test in order for the results to be considered admissible and valid.
24. EXPERT WITNESSES – Expert witnesses are available to review the validity of breath tests, blood tests and field sobriety tests.
25. MEDICAL AND HEALTH PROBLEMS -- Medical problems with legs, arms, neck, back and eyes can affect the results of field sobriety tests. Further, other medical conditions can also affect the validity of breath test results.
26. BAD WEATHER – Weather reports establishing high winds, low visibility, and other conditions are available to explain poor driving or poor balance.
27. LACK OF PROBABLE CAUSE TO ARREST -- A police officer must have specific and articulable facts to support any arrest for DUI, or the suspension will be reversed and the evidence suppressed at trial.
28. ILLEGAL SEARCH – the police are prohibited from searching a person or the automobile for a minor traffic offense, and may not search a car without a driver’s consent or probable cause. Any evidence illegally obtained is not admissible in court.
29. PRIOR INCONSISTENT STATEMENTS BY POLICE OFFICERS – any statement made by a police officer, verbally, in police reports, or at previous court proceedings may be used to attack that officer’s credibility.
30. POST-DRIVING ABSORPTION OF ALCOHOL – the prosecutor must prove the blood or breath alcohol at the time of driving. Recent consumption of alcohol just prior to driving will cause the test results to be higher than what the true level was when the person was operating the automobile.
31. INTERFERING SUBSTANCES – many items contain forms of alcohol which may cause false results, such as asthma spray, cough drops, paints, fingernail polish. These items can cause the breath results to be invalid.
32. BREATH MACHINE NOT PROPERLY OPERATED – the manufacturers of breath testing devices have specified protocols which must be followed for a breath result to be valid. Failure to follow these requirements will result in improper readings.
33. FAILURES TO PRODUCE DISPATCH TAPES – most stops of vehicles are recorded on dispatch tapes, as well as recording police communications regarding an arrest of an individual. Failure to preserve such tapes upon request can cause all evidence which could have been recorded to be suppressed.
34. MISLEADING STATEMENTS BY POLICE OFFICERS – Any misleading statement by the police regarding the consequences of taking (or refusing) a blood, breath, or urine test will cause the suspension to be reversed and removed from the driver’s record.
35. STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS – A misdemeanor charge of DUI must be filed within 18 months of the date of offense, or the charges will be dismissed outright.
36. PRIVATE PROPERTY – a person who has not driven the car on a public highway cannot be suspended for drunk driving.
37. FAILURE TO DISCLOSE EXPERTS – the failure of the prosecutor to disclose the state’s expert(s) will cause those witnesses to be barred from testifying against the defendant.
38. LACTATE RINGERS – when hospital staff use lactate ringers during the treatment of a patient, the hospital blood serum results will report falsely elevated, and therefore invalid, readings.
39. FAILURE TO RECORD CERTIFICATION TESTS – the failure to include the value of the simulator solution used to test breath machines will cause the breath test results to be inadmissible in court against the driver.
40. FORCED BLOOD DRAWS – the police may not take a blood test against the driver’s consent where there has not been an injury involved, or the result is inadmissible.
Illinois DUI lawyer | Chicago & Northwest
Suburbs. DUI / DWI & Traffic Violationss
Cities and villages served that require an appearance in a Cook County court on criminal and traffic charges:
Alsip Arlington Heights Barrington Bartlett Bedford Park Bellwood Bensenville Berkeley Berwyn Blue Island Bridgeview Brookfield Buffalo Grove Burbank Burnham Burr Ridge Calumet City Calumet Park Chicago Heights Chicago Ridge Cicero Country Club Hills Countryside Crestwood Crete DesPlaines Dixmoor Dolton East Chicago Heights East Hazel Elgin Elk Grove
Elmwood Park Evanston Evergreen Flossmoor Ford Heights Forest Park Forest View Franklin Park Glencoe Glenview Glenwood Golf Hanover Park Harvey Harwood Heights Hazel Crest Hickory Hills Hillside Hinsdale Hodgkins Hoffman Estates Hometown Homewood Indian Head Park Inverness Justice Kenilworth LaGrange LaGrange Park Lansing Lemont Lincolnwood
Lynwood Lyons Markham Matteson Maywood McCook Melrose Park Merrionette Midlothian Morton Grove Mount Prospect Niles Norridge Northbrook Northfield Northlake North Riverside Oak Forest Oak Lawn Oak Park Olympia Orland Hills Orland Park Palatine Palos Heights Palos Hills Palos Park Park Forest Park Ridge Phoenix Posen Prospect Heights
Richton Park Riverdale River Forest River Grove Riverside Robbins Rolling Meadows Roselle Rosemont Sauk Village Schaumberg Schiller Park Skokie South Barrington South Chicago Heights South Holland Steger Stickney Stone Park Streamwood Summit Thornton Tinley Park Westchester Western Springs Westhaven Wheeling Willow Springs Wilmette Winnetka Worth.
January 28, 2009, Chicago.