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The offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI, which is the same as DWI or Drunk Driving but the legal term is DUI) most often involves alcohol. However, under Illinois DUI law, it also covers other offenses.

The standard and classic DUI involves being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Grounds for an arrest may include evidence of bad driving, poor balance and coordination, substandard performance on standardized field sobriety tests and other general observations of the police officer, such as slurred speech and bloodshot eyes.

A second type of alcohol-related DUI offense involves what are known as “per se” charges. This is a Latin phrase that essential means “automatic”.

The prosecutor may lack the evidence needed to convict you of DUI under the situations described above. However, the per se law says it is also DUI for you to drive with a blood alcohol level (BAL) of 08% or more. This charge can be proven by blood or breath tests, both of which are known as “chemical tests”.

Chemical tests are different from the preliminary breath test (PBT) . The PTB is administered in connection with the process that involves determining whether or not you are going to be arrested for DUI.

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A charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) may arise after the consumption of alcohol or drugs, both legal and illegal. Alcohol impairment is established with a BAC reading of .08 or higher.

It can also be proven through Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims will demonstrate impairment equivalent to a BAC level of no lower than .08. Finally, a DUI conviction can be sustained by evidence of the driver’s actions (difficulty locating documentation such as your driver’s license, insurance card and registration); poor driving (improper lane usage being the most common of the top twenty “markers” of alcohol impairment); conduct (crying, argumentative, confused, repeating yourself); and physical characteristics (slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, poor balance).

The government may charge you with DUI even if you are taking prescribed medications in the proper amount. Taking medications is not automatically illegal. But if the evidence shows that the medications impaired your driving, you could be convicted of DUI.

Illegal drug impairment requires a different analysis. It is illegal to drive with “any amount’ of an illegal drug in your “blood, breath or urine”. 625 ILCS 5/11-501
With the recent United States Supreme Court decision in McNeely vs. Missouri, if you do not consent to a blood or urine test, the police would most likely be required to obtain a search warrant. The warrant would issue only upon a showing of probable cause to believe you are under the influence of a drug that can be detected in your blood or urine.

In a similar manner, the police can charge you with DUI drugs if they have evidence that you are actually under the influence, even if they lack a blood or breath test. As is the case with a request for a search warrant for a blood test, the issue will come down to the street cop having to present evidence that you are impaired and, more importantly, that your impairment is due to drugs.

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