Can you get a DUI if you’re under the legal limit?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | DUI Defense

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. One of the main ways that the police test for this kind of wrongdoing is to check a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A driver who is at or over 0.08%, in most cases, will be assumed to be impaired. There are some drivers that have lower limits, such as underage drivers and commercial drivers, but the 0.08% limit applies to most people.

Does this mean that you should work hard to simply stay under the limit? And if you do get pulled over and your breath test is 0.06% or 0.07%, does that mean that the police are not allowed to arrest you for drunk driving?

You can still get a DUI

You definitely can get a DUI even if you are under the legal limit. A police officer may notice other signs of impairment and claim that you shouldn’t have been behind the wheel. So, why have the legal limit at all? It simply makes it easier for the courts to prosecute these cases. If they can take a breath test and show that someone has exceeded that legal limit, they can presume impairment.

But someone who passes a breath or blood test could still be considered impaired if they caused an accident, made driving mistakes, failed field sobriety tests and things of that nature. An officer on the scene is going to look at the entire body of evidence. Just because someone has a BAC of 0.07% doesn’t mean they won’t get arrested if this other evidence points to their impairment.

What options do you have?

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, the legal defense tactics that will be most effective will likely depend on the reason that you were arrested. For example, if you were over the legal limit according to a breath test, then you may question if that test was calibrated properly. If you were under the legal limit, then you may be more interested in countering other evidence of impairment, such as the police claiming that you broke traffic rules or failed a relatively subjective field sobriety test. Seeking legal guidance can help you to clarify how best to move forward.