DUI is one of the most common criminal offenses we see. DUI arrest knows no socio-economic boundaries and can have a serious impact on the life of those who are found to guilty. In fact, even if the individual is not guilty of the crime the suspension of his/her license can still occur and may be more of a punishment than a conviction for the DUI itself would have been. Having an experienced attorney is crucial to your ability to successfully defend your case.
But what types of behaviors subject an individual to potential DUI liability?
The Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501) directs that a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in the following seven (7) circumstances:
1-BAC over .08. This is charged based on the post-arrest breath test or blood test. These types of charges can be defended based on when the actual blood/breath test was performed (there is a period of time after drinking when BAC is on the rise such that an individual’s BAC may not have been .08 at the time they were driving but only when the police officer finally got around to administering the test). There can also be an issue of whether the person was in actual physical control/driving at the time of the incident. Both of these are issues for the jury to decide.
2-Subjectively under the influence of alcohol. Regardless of BAC, a person is under the influence of alcohol when, as a result of drinking, his mental or physical faculties are so impaired as to reduce his ability to act with ordinary care.
3-Under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders that person incapable of driving safely. This cases are relatively rare but involve situations where the individual was allegedly huffing paint, doing “whip its”, or something similar. These compounds are further described in 720 ILCS 690/1.
4-Under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving. This includes both illegal and legal drug use. Have a prescription for a certain drug is not in itself a defense to the charge although it helps if the individual was only using the drug when and as prescribed by the doctor.
5-Under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug(s), or intoxicating compound(s) to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving.
6-Any amount of drug or substance in breath, blood, or other bodily substance, resulting from the unlawful use of anything listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (720 ILCS 570), the Use of Intoxicating Compounds (720 ILCS 690), or the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act (720 ILCS 646). These types of charges are not usually filed until after the results come back from the crime lab on the substance in question.
7-THC concentration over the limit (5 ng/ml of whole blood or 10 ng/ml of other bodily substance) within 2 hours of driving or actual physical control.
Usually we see tickets filed for a violation of the the second paragraph above. If you are issued two tickets, it is most likely a ticket for the second paragraph and the first paragraph. If the officer thinks the individual is impaired by something other than alcohol, the officer will write a ticket for the fourth paragraph. Regardless of how many tickets the officer issues an individual driver for one occurrence, the individual can only be “punished” for a single act of DUI. In other words, individuals who are issued more than one ticket are not being charged twice, they are just being charged with the same violation in two different ways.
If you or someone you love has been charged with DUI in Central Illinois you need an experienced lawyer to get the best result. Please call our office in Springfield, Illinois and one of our experienced attorneys will be happy to discuss your case.