Blood Alcohol Content Laws in Illinois

Updated on October 5, 2021
Updated: May 22, 2022

Blood alcohol content or BAC is most of the time used to measure alcohol intoxication in an individual for legal reasons. The measure of BAC is carried out by measuring the percentage of alcohol on units of mass of alcohol per volume of blood. If a person has a BAC of 0.08 this means that for every one hundred milliliters of blood there is 0.08g of alcohol.

In Illinois, a driver is considered to be driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. According to the blood alcohol content laws Illinois has 0.08 is the highest limit for a driver. You should note that a driver can still get charged and convicted as a DUI offender if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.05 to 0.08. The case is stronger if there is evidence to show that the driver was driving while being impaired.

There are several factors that will determine an individual’s blood alcohol content. It is possible for a man who is healthy to reach the limit of 0.08 just from taking two beers. However, the blood alcohol content is not the same for every person. Compared to men women will metabolize alcohol slowly and are more susceptible to having a higher blood alcoholic content. A person’s weight and body will significantly determine the alcoholic tolerance they build up over time.

It is important to be knowledgeable about the blood alcohol content laws in Illinois if you are a driver.

DUI Charges That You are Likely To Face In Illinois

You can face serious charges as a result of driving under influence of alcohol. That is a BAC higher than 0.08. Even so, you should note that just because your BAC is not above the legal limit does not go to mean that you will walk free. In the situation where your blood alcohol level is between 0.05 up to 0.08 percent, the authority or traffic police will at their discretion judge if you are able to safely operate a motor vehicle.

The police will look at your mannerisms, demeanor, and the ability that you have to carry out normal tasks. When an officer stops you at a traffic stop they can ask you a few questions. They will ask you if you have been drinking, where you are headed, and where you are coming from. The questions that they are asking you are meant to help them evaluate if you are driving under influence. They will not only consider the answers you give but how you give the answers. They will be looking for signs such as slurred speech, a lapse in memory, and a hard time concentrating in order to determine impairment.

If after communicating with you the officer suspects that you are drunk they can ask you to take a chemical test or a field sobriety test. The tasks that an individual in a field sobriety test will be sued by the police officer to evaluate their motor functions and whether they can follow simple instructions. In the case where you fail the tests or the traffic officer notices signs of intoxication and has a blood alcohol concentration that is between 0.05 – 0.08, you are likely to face criminal charges.

Related: How a Lawyer Can Help You Beat a DUI

The Consequences of A DUI Charge

It is important for you to seek advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois when you are facing DUI charges. The consequences of a DUI charge can impact your life permanently.

License Suspension

If you are a first-time offender and have a BAC that is either .08% or higher you are likely to lose your driving privileges immediately you get arrested. There are instances where you will be able to hold on to your license for forty-five days while the charges against you are being processed.

After the period is over and you have been convicted of a DUI crime you will lose your license for a period of six months. If you had refused to take a breathalyzer test the license suspension can be increased to one year. In the case where you had a previous DUI conviction, your license will be suspended for a period of three years.

Man blowing the breathalizer - Blood Alcohol Content Laws

Even after the court has issued a license suspension you can still get a restricted driving permit under certain conditions.

Criminal Penalties

If you are convicted of a DUI in Illinois it is a possibility for you to pay fines, serve jail time, attend several days of community service, and incur other criminal penalties depending on the charges. As a first-time offender, you will face a Class A Misdemeanor charge. Here are the penalties of the Class A Misdemeanor

  • Jail time for one year
  • Criminal fines amounting to $2500
  • Probation
  • Several hours of Community service per day for a given period de
  • A court-ordered counseling and alcohol treatment
  • Mandatory installation of breath alcohol ignition interlock device(BAIID)

If there are any aggravating factors involved, the penalties for a DUI charge will increase.  What is determined as an aggravating factor is a drunk driver causing severe bodily injury or death, reckless speed, driving with a suspended driver’s license, drunk driving with children as passengers. The aggravated driving DUI charge will be charged as a felony.

Related: When Should You Hire a DUI Lawyer?

Complying to or Refusing to Take a Field Sobriety Test or Chemical Test

Most lawyers will advise you not to take a field sobriety test if a police officer stops you for drunk driving. The reason is that when you take the test you will only be giving the police further to arrest you. Refusing to give in to the test will not bring about any negative results in most cases.

To convince you to take the test the police will employ tricks to convince you to take the test. Even though it is not true they may tell you that after taking the test you will get your freedom or be on your way. Also, they can threaten you by telling you that they will arrest you if you do are reluctant to submit to taking the test.

By not taking the tests you will probably be arrested. However, even if you take the test you will still get arrested. The only difference, in this case, is that when you take the test you have given the police the evidence they need to present in court against you.

If you run into an instance where you have been asked to take the test, before deciding whether to take the test or not you should probably ask to speak with a Tinley Park DUI lawyer. You should keep in mind that the police are entitled to refuse your request and most of the time they probably will.

When the issue goes to court the police will be ready to bring up the fact that you refused to take the test because you were afraid of them proving your guilt. You can as well bring the fact that they did not allow you to access a lawyer as an explanation as to why you did not agree to submit to the test.

Consequences of Refusing to Take a Field Sobriety Test

If you are a first-time DUI offender and you refuse to take the test you can get a 12-month license suspension. If within the previous 5 years you have failed a chemical test you will have your license suspended for 12 months and if you previously refused to take a chemical test for your driving license the license suspension period will run for 36 months.

Man refusing a breathalyzer test in Tinley Park, IL

DUI Convictions and Factors That Impact the Conviction

A DUI in Illinois can be categorized as a misdemeanor or a felony. There are also a variety of factors that will impact sentencing. We will look at them below.

  • Class A Misdemeanor. An individual who has a first or second conviction will be convicted of a Class A Misdemeanor. The convictions will be followed a license revocation of one year and at least five years respectively.
  • Class 2 Felony. Both a third and fourth conviction lie under this conviction. A driver risk facing the loss of license for almost 10 years.
  • If a driver is charged with a DUI for the sixth time they will have a class x felony 1 felony conviction and eventually a class x felony if charged again. They risk the permanent loss of driving privileges.

When a driver has a BAC that is higher than 0.16 they risk getting more community service hours, longer jail terms, and higher fines depending on the number of times they have been convicted.

A driver that is below the age of 21 who is a first-time offender will face a license suspension of at least two years.

Related: How to Find the Right DUI Lawyer

Getting Help for a DUI Criminal Charge

An experienced DUI attorney can advise you and put up a good defense for you that will help you get favorable terms. When your job and future are on the line you want to make sure that you do everything necessary to avoid an outcome that can hurt them. We can help you.

At Tommalieh law we have represented a variety of clients that could have an unfavorable outcome but we managed to help them turn things around. Give us a call at (708) 232-0017 and tell us your story and what you would us to do for you.

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