If you’re under the legal limit, does that mean you can’t get a DUI?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2021 | DUI

One thing that you likely learned back in driver’s training was that adults who drink have a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. That limit is 0.08%. This is often presented as a limit that, when broken, will result in DUI charges.

This is true; if you are over the legal limit and you get arrested, the court can use that reading to assume you were impaired and charge you with a DUI.

Where things get a bit tricky is when people assume that this works in both directions. They figure that being under the legal limit means that they cannot get a DUI. In this sense, they look at a breath test as a pass or fail test where passing means the police can’t arrest them, even after a traffic stop or an accident. But is this true?

You can get a DUI even when you’re under 0.08%

The truth, though, is that you can get a DUI at almost any BAC level, and you can definitely get one if you’re under the legal limit. The “pass/fail” part of this test simply doesn’t work the way many drivers assume.

Think of it this way: The law says that driving while impaired is illegal. This is why other types of impairment — such as using certain prescription drugs — can lead to an arrest.

If you have a BAC that is over 0.08%, then the court can assume you were impaired while driving. Breaking the legal limit demonstrates impairment in a measurable way.

That does not mean that someone at 0.07% was not impaired. They may have been. If they were, they still broke the law against impaired driving.

These cases can get more complicated

That said, a DUI case like this can get much more complicated. Without the failed test, what other evidence does the officer have that you were impaired? Does that evidence actually hold up? Be sure you are well aware of the legal options you have as your case moves forward.

One thing that you likely learned back in driver’s training was that adults who drink have a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. That limit is 0.08%. This is often presented as a limit that, when broken, will result in DUI charges.

This is true; if you are over the legal limit and you get arrested, the court can use that reading to assume you were impaired and charge you with a DUI.

Where things get a bit tricky is when people assume that this works in both directions. They figure that being under the legal limit means that they cannot get a DUI. In this sense, they look at a breath test as a pass or fail test where passing means the police can’t arrest them, even after a traffic stop or an accident. But is this true?

You can get a DUI even when you’re under 0.08%

The truth, though, is that you can get a DUI at almost any BAC level, and you can definitely get one if you’re under the legal limit. The “pass/fail” part of this test simply doesn’t work the way many drivers assume.

Think of it this way: The law says that driving while impaired is illegal. This is why other types of impairment — such as using certain prescription drugs — can lead to an arrest.

If you have a BAC that is over 0.08%, then the court can assume you were impaired while driving. Breaking the legal limit demonstrates impairment in a measurable way.

That does not mean that someone at 0.07% was not impaired. They may have been. If they were, they still broke the law against impaired driving.

These cases can get more complicated

That said, a DUI case like this can get much more complicated. Without the failed test, what other evidence does the officer have that you were impaired? Does that evidence actually hold up? Be sure you are well aware of the legal options you have as your case moves forward.