Colts coach, former player Mathis arrested for DUI with 0.05 BAC

Current Indianapolis Colts coach (and former player) Robert Mathis was arrested for DUI, despite having a BAC of 0.052.

There is a common misperception that a person cannot be charged or found guilty of DUI if he or she tests under the “legal limit” of 0.08.  As this arrests, demonstrates, that is not correct.

In Illinois, a person can be found guilty of DUI if the evidence shows that the person has consumed any amount of alcohol, so that his or her “mental or physical faculties are so impaired as to reduce his ability to think and act with ordinary care.” (Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions, Criminal 23.29).

Under Illinois law, there are the following presumptions that apply to a breath or blood test result (625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(b)):

1. If there was at that time an alcohol concentration of 0.05 or less, it shall be presumed that the person was not under the influence of alcohol.
2. If there was at that time an alcohol concentration in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08, such facts shall not give rise to any presumption that the person was or was not under the influence of alcohol, but such fact may be considered with other competent evidence in determining whether the person was under the influence of alcohol.
3. If there was at that time an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, it shall be presumed that the person was under the influence of alcohol.

This means that it is possible to be found guilty with a BAC less than 0.08, especially if it is above 0.05.  In fact, just the other day I was at the Markham courthouse and I observed a Judge find a defendant guilty in a case with a 0.062 BAC.

From the Indianapolis Star:

Indianapolis Colts assistant coach and former defensive lineman Robert Mathis tested below the legal threshold but was still arrested on a preliminary charge of drunken driving Tuesday.

A breath test showed Mathis was driving with a 0.052 percent blood-alcohol level when he was pulled over shortly after midnight in a neighborhood south of 106th Street.

“That reading combined with other factors led officers to believe he was impaired and not safe to operate a vehicle,” Carmel Police Sgt. D.J. Schoeff said.

In Indiana, a driver is presumed drunk at 0.08 percent,  but officers can arrest someone with a lower blood-alcohol level under some circumstances.

Mathis, 36, was booked into the Hamilton County Jail Tuesday morning on an initial charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, records show. He was later released.

Mathis, according to a Carmel police news release, was traveling the wrong way on a one-way street and failed to use a turn signal near Bishop Circle and Windemere Boulevard, which is close to 106th Street and Towne Road. An officer arrested Mathis at 12:09 a.m.

He was booked into the jail at 3:30 a.m. and released without posting a bond at 8:41 a.m. An initial hearing was scheduled for Nov. 8.

Mathis was added to the Colts coaching staff as a pass rush consultant in September after working in an unofficial role for a few months. Mathis, a lifelong Colt, was drafted in 2003 and went on to rack up 123 sacks over 13 seasons.

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