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DUI if Your BAC is Below the Legal Limit in Illinois

 Posted on March 15,2024 in DUI

DuPage County dui defense lawyerUnder Illinois law, it is illegal for drivers aged 21 and older to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. For commercial drivers, that legal limit is 0.04 percent. If the driver is under 21, then they are subject to the state’s zero-tolerance policy that prohibits any detectable amount of alcohol in the driver’s system while driving.

Despite these legal limits, there are still some situations where a driver can be charged with DUI even if tests show a BAC under the legal limit. If you have been charged with drunk driving, it is imperative to contact an Illinois defense lawyer right away to ensure your rights are protected.

Factors in a DUI Charge

Although the state does have BAC limits listed above, these limits are not absolute, and drivers can still be charged with DUI if they show signs of impairment despite having a BAC below these thresholds. Police officers are trained to recognize the physical and behavioral signs of intoxication. Some of the common signs an officer may look for when there is a suspicion of drunk driving are slurred speech, impaired coordination, erratic driving behavior, and the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath or in the vehicle. Suppose an officer suspects that a driver is drunk based on these observations. In that case, they may request field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer or blood test to assess the driver’s level of intoxication.

What Happens if the Driver’s BAC is Under the Legal Limit?

In cases where a driver’s BAC is below the legal limit but exhibits signs of impairment, prosecutors may still pursue DUI charges under the legal theory of “impairment to the slightest degree.” This means that even a small amount of alcohol or drugs that impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely can lead to a DUI conviction. Prosecutors may present evidence of the driver’s behavior, performance on field sobriety tests, and other factors to argue that the driver was impaired despite having a BAC below the legal limit.

It is also important to remember that Illinois DUI laws are not limited to alcohol impairment but also include impairment from drugs, both legal and illegal. In cases where a driver is under the influence of drugs other than alcohol, including prescription medications or illicit substances, they can be charged with DUI based on evidence of impairment, regardless of their BAC.

Contact a DuPage County, IL DUI Defense Lawyer for Legal Help

If you have been charged with drunk driving, it is crucial to have a skilled Naperville, IL DUI attorney representing you and making sure you have the strongest defense possible based on the circumstances of your case. Call Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC at 630-448-2001 to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Patricia Magaña and find out what your legal options may be.

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Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC

1555 Bond Street, Suite 103A, Naperville, IL 60563

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