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Can I Get a DUI If My BAC Is Under .08?

Published on Feb 6, 2020 at 12:20 pm in Auto Accident.

Breathalyzer, wallet, key and beer

Many people decide to go out on weekends, whether it’s for dinner and drinks or just going to a bar. They may think they’re feeling okay after a drink or two, but then when they’re behind the wheel find that they shouldn’t be driving. It’s common for people to try to just get home, but any kind of buzzed driving is dangerous driving. If a cop sees you driving in a way that’s endangering others, they can pull you over. A breathalyzer test may be administered. If the breathalyzer says you’re below .08, you may think you’re safe from getting a DUI charge, but this isn’t the case. There are other factors in play that you should know about.

Issuing a DUI

If your blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher, you’re not fit to drive a vehicle. A cop can issue you a DUI and take you to jail. At this point, your faculties are affected in a way that make you an extremely dangerous driver. You’re not able to coordinate speech, balance, and you’re slow to move or react in any way. Concentration and information processing are significantly reduced. When this happens, people are more prone to speeding because they’re not aware or in control and they cannot process new information on the road, such as a road sign or another object like a driver or tree. They may swerve into another car or off the road. These can often end in devastating accidents.

It’s no wonder the law states you’re unfit to drive at that point. However, this doesn’t mean that any level below is automatically safe driving. Any time you have alcohol in your system, your driving skills will be affected.

A BAC level of .05 is below the legal limit, but you’re still severely affected. You’re experiencing loss of muscle control, your judgment is impaired, you’re not alert, and you have a buzzed “good” feeling. As a driver, you’re going to have difficulty steering, your coordination is off, and your response to an emergency situation will be significantly slowed.

You may think that you’ll never get to a .05, you only had one drink and it’s not that bad. Let’s say you’re at a .02. This seems relatively low and anyone may feel like they can brush this level off. But already the effects are making you an unsafe driver. You’re feeling more relaxed, have an altered mood, and have slight loss of judgement. When this translates to getting behind the wheel, your ability to track a moving target is decreased and you will not be able to multitask, such as keeping your eyes on the road, hands on the steering wheel to maintain control, and making sure you’re not pushing harder and harder on the gas pedal which will make you speed.

As you can see, any level of alcohol in your system will affect your driving. If a cop pulls you over, they can administer field tests that will test your sobriety. If you seem unable to drive and blow below a .08, they can still charge you. There’s also a charge called a DWI, or driving while intoxicated. This may apply to you because while you’re under the legal limit, you’re not driving safely and are putting yourself and others at risk.

You also need to take into consideration the person driving. Alcohol affects everyone differently. Size, gender, and the amount of time passed since you stopped drinking will affect your ability to drive safely. So, going purely by the numbers isn’t the clearest way to determine if someone shouldn’t be driving. If a cop finds you unfit to drive, you can get a DUI or DWI charge.

Typically, pacing yourself and eating food and drinking water will help you. However, if you’ve been drinking and feel unsure of your ability to drive safely, always take precautions. Ask a friend to drive you home or get a rideshare service. You can have peace of mind that you’re not taking unnecessary risks that could put lives in danger.

Thomas Law Offices Can Help

A DUI is a serious charge that can seriously affect the rest of your life. It can change your ability to get to work and other essential places like the grocery store or pharmacy. If you’ve been charged with a DUI when your breathalyzer was under .08 and you believe the charge unwarranted, you may be able to get help. A Louisville DUI lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will look in your case and see if anything is amiss. If the cop didn’t have grounds to charge you with a DUI, we’ll find out and make sure the truth is heard. Call our office today and we’ll set up a consultation.


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Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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