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Elements of a DUI Offense in Illinois

Under Illinois law, a DUI may be issued if a person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while in Illinois and: (1) the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher; (2) the person is under the influence of alcohol or (3) the person is under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol which cause the person to be unable to driving safety. If the motorist’s BAC is between 0.05-0.07 it is at the discretion of the officer as to whether a ticket should be issued to the motorist.

Illinois has a zero tolerance policy for motorists under the age of 21 driving with a BAC of more than 0.0. In these cases a minor can be found to have violated DUI laws if (1) the minor is in physical control of a motor vehicle and (2) their BAC is more than 0.0 or if the motorist refuses to submit to or complete chemical testing.

Illinois DUI laws also include additional elements that may aggravate the offense to a higher penalty and include (1) number of prior DUI offenses; (2) whether the violator caused serious bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence; and (3) whether the BAC is above 0.16.

Blood alcohol content measures the percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream. BAC is determined through blood testing or breath testing. BAC is calculated by either grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. Under Illinois state law, the legal limit for operating a vehicle must be under 0.08.

At trial, it is the burden of the State to prove the defendant was driving under the influence by proving the results of a breathalyzer or a blood test to show the driver’s BAC level. If an injury to another driver is being alleged, the State must prove that the proximate cause of the injury or death caused by the defendant was because the defendant was driving under the influence. There must be a direct correlation shown between driving under the influence and the vehicle accident which led to the injury or death. Additionally, a BAC level of more than 0.08 must still be shown.

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