The standard for impaired driving is often described as .08%. This is the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. If you take a test, either a breath test or a blood test, and it comes back at more than .08%, the court is allowed to use the presumption of impairment.
But it is misleading to think about drunk driving charges in these strict terms. The legal limit may not be exactly what you think it is. The law is predicated on stopping — or at least limiting — impaired driving.
How else can police show you were impaired?
Your BAC reading is just one way that the courts determine impairment. It is simple, since they can presume you are impaired if you exceed the limit. But keep in mind that it is not the only way you could wind up facing drunk driving charges.
For instance, say your BAC reading is .07%. This does not mean you can’t be impaired or arrested. The police officer could still claim you were impaired due to your actions at the scene, the driving mistakes you committed, whether or not you caused an accident or the failed field sobriety test.
That said, if you’re facing drunk driving charges without breaching the legal limit, you may have more defense options. Is there another reason that you failed the field tests? Did someone else actually cause that accident? Are your alleged driving mistakes captured on video? There are a lot of questions to ask since the court can’t assume you were impaired and the prosecution has to prove it.
What defense steps should you take?
Drunk driving charges can have major ramifications. Be sure you know what legal steps to take.