Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb, LLC

You don’t have to break the limit to get a DUI

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2022 | DUI

One of the most commonly misunderstood parts of DUI law is that people assume you have to break the legal limit to be charged. They know that this legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. They view breath tests as a way to prove whether or not they are over that limit, assuming that they will never be arrested if they’re not.

Unfortunately, this is the wrong way to look at potential charges. The truth is that the legal limit just means that the officers and the court are going to presume that you are intoxicated because they know that you were over that limit. The law states that anyone who has broken that limit is impaired, even if they claim that they were still safe to drive.

Impairment is the actual issue

But the thing you should take away from that is that the law essentially just says that you can’t be impaired by alcohol or another drug when you drive. If you’re over the legal limit, then yes, the police and the court can assume that you are impaired. But being under the limit doesn’t mean that you aren’t impaired. It just means that they can’t make that assumption.

For this reason, a police officer could arrest you at 0.07% and then say that your driving tactics show that you were impaired. They may also point to things like failed field sobriety tests or the fact that you caused a car accident. It’s different in every case depending on the specifics, but impairment can happen below that limit.

If you do get arrested, then, don’t assume that they can’t convict you based on your BAC. Instead, take the time to carefully consider all of your legal defense options.