When police officers need to decide whether or not someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, a common measure they use is blood alcohol content, or BAC. This is a good measure of how intoxicated someone is. It is also a good way for drivers to understand just how impaired they are, so they can avoid being pulled over or potentially arrested for a DUI. Learn everything you need to know about blood alcohol content, the legal limit, and your legal rights.
Blood Alcohol Content
The exact laws vary from state to state, but for the most part, the legal limit for driving is 0.08%. This means that if your BAC is measured to be above 0.08%, you will immediately be arrested and almost certainly charged with a DUI. However, if you are under the legal drinking age, any BAC above 0.00% will also get you immediately arrested. It is also important to realize that BAC is relative. If two people drink the exact same amount of alcohol, their respective blood alcohol content levels will not be the same. There are many factors that determine how much alcohol affects you and your BAC:
- Muscle mass
Finally, it is vital that you realize that 0.08% is simply the point when you are automatically arrested. It is still possible to be arrested for a DUI anytime when your BAC is above 0.00%. Remember, a DUI is driving under the influence, which is relative. The police officer needs to decide if the amount of alcohol you have consumed is impacting your ability to drive, even if your BAC is within the legal limit.
Before you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you need to know your rights. Most importantly, you should know that you are not legally required to take a sobriety test unless you are under the legal drinking age, on DUI probation, or have already been arrested. If an officer simply suspects that you are intoxicated, you have no obligation to take any form of sobriety test. Additionally, it is in your best interest not to due to the subjectivity of the situation. Even if it reads 0.01%, that may give the officer all the evidence they need that you were excessively impacted by the alcohol. Already having a lawyer you can call before you are arrested is a great way to ensure all your legal rights are respected at all times.