Everyone is familiar with the legal limit for blood-alcohol content (BAC), which is 0.08 percent. This equates to roughly two drinks an hour for a standard 180-pound male. Don’t take this advice as gospel, however, because BAC calculations are highly variable based upon height, weight and metabolism. If you take the chemical test and your BAC is above 0.08 percent then you are legally drunk and can be arrested and charged with a DUI. No amount of proper coordination and clever words can evade this fate.
However, what most people don’t realize is that you can be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08 percent. The second half to most DUI laws puts an enormous amount of discretion in the hands of the officer. If the officer administers the chemical test and you blow a 0.05 percent, then you are below the legal limit. However, the officer may then administer a field sobriety test to evaluate your alertness and coordination. If during the test, the officer determines that, even though you are below the legal limit, you are too impaired to drive, he may still arrest you.
It is important that you are careful when dealing with a potential DUI charge. Illinois is an implied consent state, which means that every driver has consented to a BAC test. If you refuse, then your license is subject to suspension. However, this may be preferable if you believe you cannot pass the chemical test because your license will be suspended regardless.
If you acquiesce to the chemical test and are below the legal limit, then you must pass the field sobriety test to the satisfaction of the officer. Contesting a DUI charge below the legal limit is easier in court. However, you must find a skilled attorney to interrogate the arresting officer and pick apart the arresting night. The only evidence as to your intoxication will depend upon the officer’s observations. Therefore, a forceful defense by a skilled attorney may be enough to prevail in court.