J. W. Carney, Jr. & Associates
Speak to an attorney today
617-830-6760

What if your BAC is lower than 0.08 percent?

The national legal limit for alcohol in your system is 0.08 percent. This percentage is the point where intoxication is clear and dangerous for everyone, regardless of factors such as size and age. Operating a vehicle under this level of impairment will result in criminal charges and can easily lead to an OUI conviction and the associated penalties. It takes a strong defense to avoid this outcome.

However, what if your BAC is below 0.08 percent? Can the police still arrest and charge you for drunk driving?

Any alcohol intake puts you at risk

The answer is "yes." What matters more than the number is your ability to drive safely. If the police see that alcohol has affected you enough to make you a danger on the road, they can charge you for an OUI, even if your BAC was under the legal limit.

It does not take reaching 0.08 percent to affect your performance behind the wheel. For this reason, commercial drivers cannot go above 0.04 percent. Likewise, Utah became the first state to lower its legal limit to 0.05 percent. Many countries around the world use that same standard, or a stricter one.

Signs of impairment law enforcement look for

Before police can test your BAC, they must have reason to believe you are intoxicated. They look for these signs of impairment while you are driving:

  • Slower reaction time
  • Erratic or reckless driving
  • Failure to use lights, turn signals and other necessary mechanisms

They can also look for signs after pulling you over for a different traffic offense:

  • Bloodshot eyes and slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination and concentration
  • Visibly open or empty containers of alcohol
  • Presence of alcoholic odor

If you show any of these signs, you may still face OUI charges, even if you are not at the legal limit. Even just having an open container can be enough, whether or not you drank from it.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
American College of Trial Lawyers The Best lawyers in America Superlawyers Boston Magazine Top 5 Attorneys Boston Bar Association

Tell Us About Your Legal Issue We respond within 24 hours

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

email us for a response

Firm Contact Information

J. W. Carney, Jr. & Associates
20 Park Plaza
Suite 1405
Boston, MA 02116

Phone: 617-830-6760
Fax: 617-338-5587
Boston Law Office Map