Alcohol

What is the Legal Limit in Illinois for DUI?

There isn’t one.  Does that surprise you?  When a person takes a Breathalyzer after a DUI stop in Illinois the law says:

1.  For those who blow over 0.08 there is a presumption that the person was under the influence.

2.  For those who blow 0.079 to 0.051, there is no presumption that the person was under the influence of alcohol.

3.  For those who blow under 0.05 there is a presumption that the person was not under the influence of alcohol.

Do you see the sneaky thing they did there?  Normally, in America a person is presumed to be not under the influence (not guilty), unless the state proves that they were under the influence at trial.  However, if you look at the middle presumption (that is that there is no presumption), the state just papered over one of your rights: to be presumed not guilty, and took it away.

Interestingly, it is the first presumption that people assume establishes a “limit” of 0.08 in Illinois.  It does not.  The jury may be told that they may presume that the person was under the influence, but that presumption may be rebutted by the defendant at trial.  Of course, that would be a pretty interesting trial where the defendant established that his alcohol tolerance was so high that at 0.08 he wasn’t under the influence.   One has to think that the jury might be predisposed to finding someone guilty who had such a big alcohol problem.  So at the very least it would be an uphill battle to say the least.

So it turns out there is no Legal Limit in Illinois, just a bunch of people who think there is one.

Law Dude, Ray Flavin, is a Bull Valley attorney who represents drivers that have been charged with DUI in McHenry County Illinois. His law offices are located across the street from the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.