Protecting Your Rights, Defending Your Future

What is a “per se” DUI?

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2019 | DUI Defense | 0 comments

As of 2005, every state in the union has per se DUI laws on their books. Many people might think they understand how their BAC could impact their situation if they are pulled over for drunk driving. However, it is critical for anyone–regardless of whether or not they face DUI charges–to understand Illinois’ per se drunk driving laws.

Only the BAC matters in per se DUIs

Per se DUI laws establish that individuals can be found guilty of drunk driving based on their BAC alone if their BAC tested at the legal limit of 0.08 or higher. If the person’s BAC is higher than the legal limit, then they are automatically considered intoxicated under the law.

In these situations, the police do not need to provide any other information proving impairment, such as:

  • Failing the field sobriety test
  • Breaking other traffic laws
  • Any answers given in the traffic stop

Police would have to provide this evidence if someone had a BAC below the legal limit. And they can use these factors as additional evidence, but per se laws make it so the BAC alone is the only piece of evidence needed.

Illinois law is particularly harsh

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Illinois has zero-tolerance per se laws when it comes to driving under the influence. And these laws are incredibly general, covering all “intoxicating compounds, cannabis, controlled substances and other drugs.”

This list gives Illinois police more options to use per se DUI laws against you.

What defenses do you have against per se DUIs?

Generally, you have two strategies available to you to challenge a per se DUI:

  1. BAC can fluctuate: After drinking, it is common for BAC to change significantly. This can have a considerable effect on the results of your test. Additionally, several BAC testing kits were recalled earlier this summer, due to chemicals in blood-testing tubes that made an individual’s BAC seem higher than it was at the time of the traffic stop.
  2. BAC tests are not always accurate: In general, individuals facing DUI charges always have the option to challenge the results of chemical tests or BAC tests. And, as we have discussed in past blog posts, many attorneys and researchers are beginning to question just how accurate breath tests are in determining BAC.

So, even though per se DUI laws automatically lead to charges for BACs over 0.08, you do still have options to protect and fight for your future.