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Study Finds Dehydration Produces the Same Impairments in Drivers as Alcohol

It is well-acknowledged that driving while intoxicated poses a significant risk of harm to other people. As such, it is Illegal in Illinois. There are no laws barring people from driving while they are dehydrated, and despite the seemingly absurd notion that there should be, a recent article suggests that dehydrated drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers. While the article does not have any legal implications, it does trigger the question of whether some people stopped for suspicion of DUI show signs of impairment for other reasons. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Illinois DUI defense lawyer to discuss what defenses you may be able to assert.

The Impact of Dehydration on Drivers

Reportedly, a study conducted in 2021 in the United Kingdom showed that even slight cases of dehydration were equivalent to driving while intoxicated. In other words, motorists who are mildly dehydrated show a substantial increase in small driving errors during long trips as opposed to drivers who are adequately hydrated. The magnitude of impairment caused by dehydration was the same as that experienced by drivers that had consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol to achieve a blood alcohol level of 0.08%. Specifically, losing even a small amount of water causes a decreased capacity to adequately perform tasks that require quick decisions, concentration, and motor skills and produces symptoms such as dizziness, tiredness, and loss of focus.

Grounds for DUI Charges in Illinois

In Illinois, there are multiple grounds for charging a person with a DUI crime. For example, a person may face DUI charges for being in physical control of a vehicle while their blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher. Notably, “physical control” may include acts other than driving, like starting a vehicle or sleeping in a parked car with the engine running.

People can also be charged with DUI crimes if they are merely deemed to be under the influence of alcohol, regardless of their blood alcohol level. Thus, if a person shows signs of impairment and the police determine the person consumed alcohol prior to operating a vehicle, they may arrest the person for DUI, even if other factors contributed to their impairment. A conviction for a DUI offense can result in significant penalties, including jail time, fines, and the loss of driving privileges. What sentence is imposed depends on multiple factors, like whether it is a first or subsequent offense and whether the driver harmed anyone.

Speak to a Seasoned Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

Simply because a person is accused of DUI does not mean the State will be able to prove their guilt, as the prosecution faces a high burden of proof in criminal cases, and there are often numerous defenses criminal defendants can assert to avoid a conviction. If you are accused of committing a DUI crime, it is advisable to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a seasoned Illinois DUI defense lawyer, and if you engage his services, he will fight tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact Mr. Harvatin by calling 217.525.0520 or using the form online to set up a consultation.


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