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How does the legal blood alcohol concentration limit work?

On behalf of Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP | Oct 8, 2020 |

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) does not work the way that many people think that it does. They assume that it means staying under the limit eliminates the chances of a DUI, while going over the limit guarantees one. That’s simply not accurate.

The legal limit is the point at which a person is presumed to be intoxicated and impaired while driving. That may guarantee a DUI, but not always. For instance, what if the machine that took the reading wasn’t calibrated properly and the reading isn’t accurate? Or the officer who used the machine was never trained to do so and did not use it properly?

At the same time, being under the legal limit does not guarantee you won’t get a DUI. You still can. If your driving is impaired and officers have other evidence of impairment, such as failed field sobriety tests, you can still get charged even when the breath test says you’re not over the limit.

You also need to account for time, because the court may. As long as you’re not drinking, your BAC is falling. If enough time goes by between the traffic stop and the breath test, simply blowing a .07% may still be viewed as evidence of impairment back when you were behind the wheel.

The truth is that DUI cases are often a lot more complicated than people realize. They also have serious ramifications, so you can’t afford to make any mistakes or assumptions. You need to know exactly how the law works and what legal options you have.