Committed Family Law Representation

Your BAC was below the legal limit, so why did you get a DUI?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2022 | DUI Charges

You have always enjoyed your time with friends and family, and it isn’t unusual for you to have a couple of beers while you’re out – but you’ve always been careful to keep to your limits and you quit drinking well before you have to get back on the road.

That’s why you weren’t particularly concerned when you were pulled over for a traffic stop and the officer started asking you questions that clearly indicated they felt you might be intoxicated. You knew you probably said more than you should have about where you’d been and what you’d been doing, but you were confident that your blood alcohol content (BAC) was below the legal limit of 0.08% – and it was.

So, why did you end up in handcuffs, charged with driving under the influence (DUI)?

“Too drunk to drive” is a nebulous standard

A lot of people incorrectly believe that they can only be charged with drunk driving if their BAC exceeds that 0.08% marker – but that’s merely the “per se” limit that automatically equates to drunk driving. An officer needs no other evidence than a reading that high or higher on a Breathalyzer device or other chemical testing to make an arrest.

However, state law says that you cannot be in control of a vehicle if you’ve had enough alcohol that you are “rendered incapable of safely driving, operating or being in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle.”

That means an officer can base their arrest on things like:

  • The driving behavior that initially attracted their attention and prompted the traffic stop, whether that was an obvious violation (like running a red light) or something that was merely suspicious (like driving too slowly or pausing far too long at a stop sign)
  • Your conduct during the traffic stop, which could include anything from inappropriate or belligerent behavior to slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and fumbling for your license and registration too long. If you agreed to roadside sobriety testing, like the one-legged stand test, and failed, that could also be used against you.

Whatever the specifics of your situation, don’t let an arrest turn into a conviction without a fight. There are defenses available.