Illinois DUI by Marijuana, Drugs or Intoxicating Compound

The Law – 625 ILCS 5/11-501

(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

(3) under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely;

(4) under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving;

(5) under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving; or

(6) there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person's breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis listed in the Cannabis Control Act, a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, an intoxicating compound listed in the Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act, or methamphetamine as listed in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act.

NOTE: Under Section (a)(6), if a person has “ANY AMOUNT” of drug, substance, compound, or marijuana in the person’s breath, blood, or urine, the person can be guilty of DUI. No proof of intoxication is required. The only proof necessary is that the person had in his or her breath, blood or urine, ANY AMOUNT of drug, substance, compound, or marijuana. It could be an extremely small amount incapable of rendering any person impaired. It could be an amount that has no effect on the driver because the expose to the substance was days ago. None of that matters. All that matters is whether there was ANY AMOUNT of drug, substance, compound, or marijuana.


Under Section (a) (3) an “intoxicating compound” is any compound, liquid, or chemical containing toluol, hexane, trichloroethylene, acetone, toluene, ethyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone, trichloroethane, isopropanol, methyl isobutyl ketone, methylcellosolve acetate, cyclohexanone, the alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, or scopolamine, or any other substance for the purpose of inducing a condition of intoxication, stupefaction, depression, giddiness, paralysis or irrational behavior, or in any manner changing, distorting or disturbing the auditory, visual or mental processes.

For example, if you are driving, and while you are stopped at a red light, another vehicle rear-ends you. You are clearly not at fault, your driving was perfect. You are injured and taken via ambulance to a hospital. When the police are investigating, the police claim that they smell an odor of cannabis in your vehicle. So they have your blood drawn for evidence purposes. If the result shows any level of cannabis in your blood, you could be found guilty of DUI based on marijuana in your system, even if, hypothetically, you had smoked marijuana a week earlier.

So you may be asking yourself, if a person can be convicted of DUI if they have ANY AMOUNT of drug in their system, why does Section (a)(4) state that a person may not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving? Here is the reason: If the State believes, for some reason, that you were operating a vehicle with drugs in your system, but there is no testing of the person’s breath, blood or urine, OR THE TESTING ON THE PERSON’S BREATH, BLOOD OR URINE IS RULED INADMISSIBLE BASED UPON AN UNLAWFUL “SEARCH” OR SOME OTHER REASON, the State can attempt to prove that you were DUI because you had drugs in your system and the drugs rendered you incapable of safely driving.

Also note that a prosecution under Section (a)(4), regarding drugs, can also entail DUI by prescription drugs (Vicodin, for example). A person can legally be taking Vicodin (or any other pain medication or prescription medication) and consume alcohol, but NOT have enough alcohol in his system to be over the legal limit – but the COMBINATION of the alcohol and the prescription medication could make him “under the influence” under the law.

Note that there are still numerous ways to successfully defend a charge that is based on marijuana, drugs or intoxicating compounds, even if it is found in your system, such as:

  1. The officer had no reason to stop you in the first place;
  2. The evidence of the marijuana, drugs or intoxicating compound in your system was obtained as a result of an illegal “search and seizure”;
  3. The results were not accurate or reliable;
  4. The manner in which the sample was obtained was not proper, accurate or reliable;
  5. Other possible defenses to a result based upon blood or urine testing.
Success Story: We have successfully defended clients who have been charged with DUI where Vicodin, cocaine or marijuana was found in the vehicle. Every case is different, and the circumstances of each case are unique. We are meticulous in our review of police reports and evidence. We are thorough and knowledgeable about the law. We fight for our clients. All of this has helped us get successful results for our clients for over 30 years.

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