Monday, November 2, 2009

BUT I WAS BELOW THE BLOOD ALCOHOL LIMIT!: HOW YOU CAN STILL BE ARRESTED FOR DUI EVEN WITH A BREATHALYZER UNDER .08

You know you didn’t pause on that stop sign quite long enough, and now just your luck, a cop has pulled you over. After approaching your window, the cop looks at you a little strangely and then asks you to take some field sobriety tests. You figure you didn’t have that much to drink, so you agree. After you walk the line and stand on one foot, the officer asks you to take a breathalyzer. You think about your right to refuse, but again figure you didn’t have that much to drink. After you blow a .07, you sigh with relief, figuring you are off the hook. So you are surprised when the officer charges you with Driving while Under the Influence.

Can you be charged with and/or convicted of DUI when you are below the legal blood alcohol limit? The answer is yes. In Illinois, the state’s blood alcohol limit of .08 only represents a presumption that you have been driving while intoxicated. While a breathalyzer reading below .08 can help disprove a presumption of drunk driving, it does not prevent the State from relying on other evidence such as slurred speech, inability to walk a line, glassy eyes and erratic driving.

Can you still fight the charges? Absolutely. The State has the burden to prove a DUI beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced attorney can help probe the weaknesses in the state’s case and improve your chances of obtaining a not guilty verdict.

Even if your breathalyzer is at or just slightly over .08, you may still be able to fight a charge of drunk driving. Once again, the .08 limit is only a legal presumption. An experienced attorney may help you present other evidence to show that your driving was not impaired.

If you have questions about your situation, feel free to contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or matt@mattkeenanlaw.com for advice.

See our related DUI blog at http://duilawyerskokie.com.

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