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Getting A DUI With Less Than The Legal Limit Of .08 BAC

OKABE & HAUSHALTER Apr 15, 2020 DUI

Many people have one rule when it comes to drinking and driving – that they will not operate a vehicle if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit of .08%. While this is a laudable goal, we urge our readers not to stick with such a stringent baseline. Our Los Angeles DUI defense attorneys understand that a person can be charged with DUI even if they are below this legal limit. At Okabe & Haushalter, we want to discuss circumstances in which a person may be charged with DUI even if they are not over the legal limit for driving.

What Does The Law Say About BAC?

Under California law, it is illegal for a driver to operate their vehicle under the influence of any substance, regardless of what that substance may be (alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs). It does not matter how much substance a person has in their system. Even having just one drink can be enough for a driver to face DUI charges. It is not uncommon for a prosecutor to argue that a person was impaired even if their blood alcohol content was below .08%.

To be sure, every person’s body is different. An intoxicating level of alcohol for one person may not be the same for another person.

If a driver is having trouble staying in the lane and gets pulled over by a police officer, it is very likely that the officer will work to determine whether or not the driver is intoxicated. A driver may be arrested if they:

  • Have watery or red eyes
  • Have an odor of alcohol on them
  • Walk with an unsteady gait
  • Have difficulty with motor skills (failing a field sobriety test)
  • Have slurred speech

Even if a driver blows below .08% for their BAC, this does not necessarily mean they are not intoxicated by alcohol. One drink may be enough to impair some drivers.

Other Substances Will Not Show Up On BAC

A blood alcohol test will not tell officers whether or not a driver is on any other type of substance that could impair their ability to drive. If someone has just used cocaine or heroin but has not had any alcohol, their BAC will read 0.0%. However, this does not mean that the driver is not impaired.

The Penalties Can Be Severe

A first offense DUI conviction In California is a misdemeanor. Convicted drivers could face major fines as well as penalty assessments that can reach several thousand dollars. Convicted drivers could face two days to up to six months in jail upon conviction. A first-time offender will likely be placed on probation and face several restrictions on their driving behavior.

We Are Ready To Take Your Case

If you or somebody you care about has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, contact a skilled attorney immediately. These charges can significantly affect your future and impact your finances. At Okabe & Haushalter, we have vast experience helping clients who are facing DUI charges. Our Los Angeles DUI defense attorneys will investigate every aspect of your case in an effort to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether. You need to treat this charge seriously. You can contact us today by clicking here or calling 310-430-7799 for a free consultation.