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When Can Drug Use Lead to DUI Charges in Illinois?

 Posted on March 27, 2023 in DUI Law

naperville dui defense lawyerIn the state of Illinois, driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense. A DUI conviction can lead to jail time, fines, license suspension, and other consequences. But did you know that you may be charged with DUI even if you are not under the influence of alcohol? If you are found to be driving while impaired by drugs, you can face DUI charges. It is important to understand when drug use may lead to arrests and criminal charges for driving under the influence, as well as the potential defense strategies that may be available in these situations.

What Does the Law Say?

According to Section 11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while a person is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, other intoxicating substances, or any combination of substances that may affect their ability to operate a vehicle safely. While people are most commonly charged with DUI due to the use of alcohol, the law may also be used to bring DUI charges against a person who has used drugs. These may include both legal and illegal substances such as prescription drugs or marijuana.

How Is Impairment Defined?

The law defines impairment as an inability to safely operate a motor vehicle. It also specifies certain limits that may be used to gauge intoxication. For those who have consumed alcohol, intoxication may be measured by breathalyzer devices that will determine a person's blood alcohol content (BAC), and a BAC of .08 percent or higher may result in DUI charges. Intoxication due to marijuana use may be determined by measuring the levels of THC in a person's system. If a person has five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms of THC per milliliter of saliva or other bodily substances, they will be considered to be intoxicated.

For other types of drugs, DUI charges may apply if a person has any amount of a controlled substance in their system due to the illegal use of drugs. A person may also be considered to be intoxicated if they have used legal prescription drugs or other substances and are incapable of operating a vehicle safely. For example, the use of prescription opioids could affect a person's ability to drive safely, or the combination of multiple substances, such as cold medicines and alcohol, may cause a person to be intoxicated. In these situations, a DUI arrest may be based on a police officer's observations of a person or field sobriety tests that indicated that they were intoxicated.

Are There Any Defenses Against Drug-Related DUIs?

If your attorney can raise doubts about whether you were impaired at the time of your arrest, they may be able to get your charges dropped. This may be done by challenging the results of drug tests or an officer's interpretation of field sobriety tests. Your attorney may also argue that a police officer did not have a valid reason to perform a traffic stop or that they performed an arrest without having probable cause to believe that you were intoxicated while you were operating a vehicle. This may allow evidence against you to be suppressed, and charges may be dismissed or reduced.

Contact Our Naperville Drug-Related DUI Defense Lawyer

Driving while impaired by drugs can be just as serious as driving while intoxicated by alcohol, and it can result in serious penalties. If you are facing DUI charges related to the use of marijuana, prescription drugs, or other substances, a skilled DuPage County DUI defense attorney can provide invaluable legal help and representation. At Law Office of Philip R. Nathe, we will advise you of your options for defense while working to ensure that you can resolve your case successfully while minimizing the potential penalties you may face. Contact us today at 630-416-7600 for a free consultation.


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