We all know that drunk driving is something you shouldn’t do. But legally speaking, what exactly is it? How does a court decide when you crossed the line and became too drunk to drive?

Under 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(2), a person should not drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If you have a blood alcohol content of .08 or above, you are presumed to be impaired, although you may be able to challenge that presumption if your driving and performance on field sobriety tests are otherwise stellar.

According to Illinois case law: “A person is under the influence of alcohol when he or she is less able, either mentally or physically, or both, to exercise clear judgment, and with steady hands and nerves operate an automobile with safety to himself and to the public…. A conviction of DUI does not require proof that the defendant was completely incapacitated by alcohol. The prosecution need prove only that the defendant was impaired by alcohol to the extent that it rendered him incapable of driving safely.” See People v. Williams.

Still wondering what that really means? To a large extent, it all depends on the specific facts of your case—as well as your judge. Some cases are clear cut. You were weaving and you drove off the shoulder. Others are less so. You missed a stop sign. Does that mean you were impaired? Some judges might say yes, others no.

While never able to guarantee success, an experienced DUI attorney who is familiar with the courthouse can present your case in its best possible light before your particular judge. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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