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What is blood alcohol concentration?

Your blood alcohol concentration refers to the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. You can measure your BAC either through a urine, blood or breath test.

In Illinois, according to the Illinois General Assembly, it is illegal to drive with a BAC at or above 0.08%. At this point, most people start to experience slight impairments of hearing, reaction time, vision, speech and balance.

Factors that can affect your BAC

Alcohol tolerance varies depending on the person because of differences in physiology, and your BAC level can change based on many different factors. Most of these factors relate to body weight, gender and body fat percentage. For example, if you are a woman, your BAC level may be higher after drinking the same number and type of alcoholic beverages as a man, making it more likely that you could get pulled over for drinking and driving.

Penalties for drinking and driving

If your BAC level crosses the 0.08% threshold and law enforcement charges you with DUI, you could face a number of serious penalties. According to the Illinois State Police, for first-time DUI offenders, the penalties include a year of lost driving privileges, the requirement to pay a fine of up to $2,500 and a possible prison sentence of up to a year.

Whether for a first DUI or a third, these penalties can affect your employment, finances and wellbeing. But there are many defenses you can use to mitigate a DUI charge and potentially reduce the severity of the consequences you face.