Can you be convicted of drunk driving with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) below .08%? The short answer is, YES, if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is above .05% AND the police can show evidence that you were driving impaired. In other words, the real crime is not your blood-alcohol level. The crime is driving while impaired.
Driving Can Be Impaired When BAC Exceeds .05 BAC
In Illinois and every other state, drivers are automatically judged “impaired” when their BAC is .08% or higher. But, in fact, alcohol affects your coordination and judgment from the first drink. According to the Illinois DUI Fact Book, your risk of being in a crash increases significantly when your BAC exceeds .05%. The latest report sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, released in January 2018, recommends lowering the legal limit to .05% BAC.
A Breathalyzer Result Over .05% BAC Has Consequences
If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, you will be taken to a police station for chemical testing of your breath and/or blood. What happens next depends on the test results.
If your BAC test result is over .05% but less than .08%:
- Your driver’s license will NOT be suspended at this time. A BAC of .08% or more is necessary for the statutory summary suspension of your driver’s license.
- The DUI charge still stands until you go to court, where the arresting officer and other witnesses will have the opportunity to present evidence of your impairment that could lead to your being convicted of DUI. For example, the arresting officer may testify about any traffic violations you committed and your performance on field sobriety tests. Your defense attorney can help you understand the evidence and develop a strong defense.
Be aware that you have the right to obtain additional BAC testing at your own expense, and those test results are admissible in court in your defense. For example, if you consented to a breathalyzer test, and you think the result is too high, you can request a blood test which may show a different result.
As you can see, Illinois DUI law is complex. If convicted, you face severe penalties, even for a first arrest, not to mention total out-of-pocket costs that can exceed $18,000. To ensure the best possible outcome, you should seek the advice of an attorney with extensive experience in DUI defense in your county.
Protect Your Rights with an Experienced Joliet DUI Defense Attorney
If you were charged with DUI with a BAC under .08%, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced Will County DUI defense lawyer will investigate your case thoroughly to develop evidence that could get your charges reduced or even dismissed. Contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation; phone calls are answered 24 hours a day.