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Can I Face DUI Charges Even if My BAC was Below the Legal Limit?Being pulled over on suspicion of DUI can be a nerve-wracking experience for many. Even if you were pulled over for something unrelated to your driving, police officers are always looking for signs of impairment behind the wheel. If the police officer has any reason to suspect that you have been drinking or are impaired in any way, they will likely ask you to step out of the vehicle to perform sobriety tests. If you fail the sobriety tests, you will be arrested. Contrary to what some people may believe, you can actually fail a sobriety test even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit. DUI charges are serious in any capacity, so avoiding a conviction is essential.

DUI, BAC’s and Legal Limits

In almost every state in the United States, the legal limit for your BAC while you are driving is 0.08. If your BAC is over 0.08, you are considered to be legally intoxicated. However, most DUI laws are crafted to be open-ended in defining what constitutes a DUI charge. For example, in Illinois, the law states that a person is prohibited from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle if their BAC is 0.08 or more. However, the law also states a person commits a DUI if they are driving a vehicle “under the influence of alcohol.” This means that you do not have to have a BAC of 0.08 or more to be charged with a DUI.

Drug-Impaired Driving

In addition to alcohol, Illinois’ DUI laws also deal with drug-impaired driving. The law states that any person caught driving with a drug, substance, or intoxicating compound – whether legal or illegal – in their body can be charged with a DUI. The only drug, however, that has a limit set on it is THC, the compound found in marijuana. In Illinois, the legal limit for THC concentration is 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms or more per milliliter of another bodily substance. Like alcohol, you can also be charged with DUI if you were operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, even if your THC level was under the legal limit

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Orland Park drug crimes defense attorney, police searchA good criminal defense lawyer will always tell you two things: Never voluntarily answer police questions—remember, you have the right to remain silent—and never consent to a warrantless search of your car. If you are pulled over on a traffic stop, you must provide the officer with your license, registration, and insurance information. But you do not have to answer any questions, even something basic like, “Where are you going?”

Defendant Faces 12 Years in Jail After “Routine” Traffic Stop

Remember, police are trained to be suspicious. Even in the context of a routine traffic stop, officers are looking for any possible sign of criminal activity, such as DUI or drug trafficking. Mere suspicion, however, does not justify an arrest or even a search of your vehicle.

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Orland Park criminal defense attorney, police handcuffDrug crime cases often begin with seemingly routine traffic stops. Illinois law enforcement officers may use a minor traffic crime, such as speeding, as a pretext to stop and search a vehicle suspected to contain evidence of illegal drug activity. While the Constitution is supposed to protect all citizens against “unreasonable” searches, in practice there are a number of loopholes that judges allow police to exploit.

Court Reinstates Drug Charge After Questionable Search

One recent Cook County drug case, which is still pending, began with an unverified “tip” from an unidentified informant. Someone allegedly informed a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent in San Diego that a woman was illegally transporting drugs to Chicago. This agent then told his counterparts in Chicago. 

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