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Can you get a DUI if your BAC is below the legal limit?

| May 14, 2021 | Drunk Driving Defense |

Now that restaurants, clubs and bars are re-opening, many people in Springfield are looking forward to a beer at happy hour after work or taking a date out to a nice meal and glass of wine. A nice evening out can turn awful, however, if on the way home you are pulled over by police on suspicion of drunk driving.

Illinois drunk driving laws

Illinois recognizes two levels of drunk driving. The first is drunk driving per se. This means a person whose blood-alcohol concentration is 0.08% or above can be arrested for DWI, with no other evidence of impairment needed.

However, you can still be arrested for DWI if you are simply driving under the influence of alcohol, even if your BAC is below the legal limit. In this situation, additional evidence such as field sobriety tests or police observations are used to determine if you are too drunk to safely drive.

Effects of alcohol on the human body

It is easy to see how a BAC of 0.08% can impair your ability to drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person with a BAC of 0.08% my find it more difficult to concentrate, control their speed and process information. They may also find they have short-term memory loss. Any of these impairments can make it impossible to drive safely.

However, what if your BAC is only 0.05%? Can it impair your ability to drive? Possibly. A person with a BAC of 0.05% may find that their coordination and ability to steer is negatively affected, as is their ability to track moving objects and ability to respond to emergency driving situations. Any of these impairments could make driving unsafe.

And what if your BAC is a mere 0.02%? Even this could at least affect your ability to drive. A person with a BAC of 0.02% may find that their ability to rapidly track moving objects and their ability to perform two tasks at one time are negatively affected. There is always the chance that police will arrest someone with such a low BAC for DUI if they believe the motorist was driving unsafely.

Learn more about DUI in Illinois

Getting a DUI is understandably a very upsetting situation, especially if you believe you were driving safely. Since the consequences of even a first-time DUI are significant, it is important to develop a strong defense strategy against DUI charges. This post is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on DUI defense may be a good source of information for those who want to learn more about this topic.