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Does being under the legal limit protect you from a DUI?

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2021 | DUI Questions |

The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), for most drivers, is the well-known 0.08%. This is often used to give someone a DUI. If you’re pulled over and a breath test shows that you’re above 0.08%, then the court assumes you’re intoxicated and you can get convicted on those charges. 

But is the reverse true? Could that same legal limit protect you from a DUI?

For instance, say you swerve into the oncoming lanes and sideswipe another car. No one is injured, but the police are called. An officer decides to give you a breath test because he or she thinks you’re impaired. It comes back at 0.07%. Does this mean they can’t give you a DUI because you followed the law and stayed under the limit?

You can still be charged with drunk driving

The limit does not work this way and cannot prevent a DUI. The reading is just for evidence of impairment, and it’s that impairment that is illegal.

If you’re under 0.08%, you could still be impaired. That’s not assumed, but the officer can present other evidence and show that you were too drunk to drive, and that evidence can lead to a conviction. In this example, the officer would likely say that hitting the other car is evidence you were impaired. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t break the limit, because you still broke the law. 

There are many ways to defend against a DUI, but it’s also important to know what will not work as you consider your options. Don’t buy into any myths and be sure you really know what steps to take.