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Mark Ditka's Breathalyzer Results Excluded from DUI Trial

On Wednesday, a Lake County Judge threw out the results of Mark Ditka’s Breathalyzer test results at a pretrial hearing for Ditka’s DUI charges, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Ditka was arrested on suspicion of DUI while driving in Deerfield on Sept. 24. Ditka is the younger son of former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka.

Ditka was pulled over for a missing front license plate. According to the officer, Ditka seemed drunk. “It appeared to me he was slurring his words together,” Officer Wesley Carner said. “I smelled an odor of alcohol. His eyes were blood shot.”

The results of a Breathalyzer test indicated that Ditka had a blood-alcohol concentration of .16, twice the legal limit. However, in court on Wednesday, the results of the test were challenged.

Ditka claimed that immediately prior to the test, he’d been chewing citrus flavored tobacco. Judge Helen Rozenberg expressed concern that the tobacco could have affected the results of the Breathalyzer test. She excluded the test results “as to whether there was reasonable cause for the arrest.”

However, the excluded test results won’t stop the case from moving forward. Rosenberg denied Ditka’s motion to rescind the arrest, stating that all an officer needed to arrest Ditka was “reasonable grounds to believe he was driving under the influence of alcohol.”

Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, anyone operating a motor vehicle in the state has given “implied consent” to a Breathalyzer, blood, or urine test if suspected of DUI. If you refuse to submit to such tests, your license will automatically be suspended for at least a year. In certain circumstances, the penalty for refusal could be harsher than those prescribed for many DUI offenses.

The current offense is Mark Ditka’s third DUI arrest, according to court records. In one of the cases the DUI charge was downgraded to reckless driving, and in the other, Ditka was found not guilty.

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