You Can Get a DUI with a BAC Under 0.08
Did you know that you can still be arrested and convicted of DUI if your BAC was under the legal limit? How is this possible?
Presumption of ImpairmentIf you drive in the United States, you should be well aware that the so-called *legal limit* for drinking and driving in every state is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent. If a breath or blood test indicates that your BAC is over 0.08, there is a presumption that you were driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, and the prosecutor will not need to provide additional evidence of intoxication to satisfy that element of a DUI charge.
Signs of ImpairmentThe California DUI statute states that *It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle,* regardless of BAC. In some cases, police or prosecutors may allege that you were *under the influence* even if your BAC was under 0.08 or if no chemical test results are available or reliable. This type of charge often relies heavily on the testimony of the arresting officer regarding the signs of impairment the officer observed at the traffic stop.
Officers can testify to many signs of intoxication of drivers, including:
* Slurred speech
* Odor of alcohol
* Red, watery eyes
* Disorientation or confusion
* Stumbling or falling down
* Open alcohol containers in the vehicle
If your BAC read under 0.08 - or if you refused to submit a breath sample - a prosecutor can still assert that you were impaired based on the above signs of intoxication. If a jury believes the officer*s testimony, they can still find you guilty of DUI even without being over the legal limit.
A skilled DUI defense attorney will know how to challenge the officer*s testimony regarding the alleged signs of impairment to try to prevent a guilty finding. An experienced criminal can defend against DUI charges if you were under the legal limit.
Alcohol affects everyone differently, and some people may show signs of impairment after only one drink. The *legal limit* exists to create a presumption of intoxication, and it does not mean that you are within the confines of the law simply because your BAC is less than 0.08. If you get arrested with a BAC under 0.08, never assume that you will be acquitted - instead, contact a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.