When a driver is given a breath test, the police are likely looking to see if they are over the legal limit. There are exceptions for commercial drivers and underage drivers, but the limit for most people is 0.08%. The breath test itself simply measures a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to see if it has reached this level.
Now, if the results come back at or above 0.08%, then you can be charged with a DUI. The court can presume you were impaired. That’s why people strive not to reach this line, knowing the legal risk that they would be taking if they drove in this condition. But does that mean that you can’t get a DUI as long as you stay under that line?
Evidence of impairment
The truth is that you can get a DUI either above or below the legal limit. The police are trying to gauge your impairment; it’s a misconception that they’re just looking at the numbers for your BAC. Your level of impairment is not necessarily exclusively tied to your BAC. If officers determine that you were “too impaired to drive”, no matter what your blood alcohol concentration was at the time, you could face charges.
A positive test at 0.04%, for example, does show that a person has consumed alcohol. If the police officers can show impairment in other ways – such as showing that the driver caused an accident – they may still be able to push for DUI charges.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that people can get a DUI when they have used other substances. Someone who has used marijuana, for instance, would have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.00% but could still get impaired driving charges.
Are you facing such charges in Pennsylvania? Be sure you know about all of your legal defense options.