Driving under the influence (DUI) or drunk driving is a serious offense in the US. While the number of offenses will determine if it is a misdemeanor or a felony, even one DUI conviction leaves a bad mark on your record. It can prevent you from getting certain jobs, and may mean the suspension of your driving privileges as well as fines. If you are charged with drunk driving in Illinois, you can take certain steps to try and beat the charge.

Take note if you have been Mirandized

In Illinois, the law requires that the arresting officer read you your Miranda rights when charging you for drunk driving. Failure to do so will invalidate any tests that may have been performed to confirm your blood alcohol level, such as a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test. It is tantamount to a free pass, so make sure that you…

Tell your lawyer

As soon as you can, ask for a lawyer. It is one of your rights when you get charged with drunk driving (which hopefully the officer forgot to inform you), so get one who is experienced in handling DUI cases in your state. Another right that you have which you should take advantage of is the right to…

Remain silent

Anything you say can and will be used against you in court, so the best policy is to say nothing until your lawyer is there to advise you. It may be tempting to be a smart mouth or to make a show of bravado, especially if the arresting officer makes snide remarks, but resist it. It could save your goat. When your lawyer arrives…

Discuss possible lines of defense

Field sobriety tests are far from infallible and even breathalyzer tests can be successfully contested if you can prove that there is a physical, medical or other legitimate explanation that explains erratic driving behavior or why you tested positive for a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. Be sure to tell your lawyer anything that may be helpful.

These are the first things that you should do when you are charged with drunk driving in Illinois. The important thing is not to panic; stay calm and ask for a lawyer.