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Can you get a DUI if your BAC is below the legal limit?

| Apr 25, 2021 | DUI

Now that bars, restaurants and wineries are starting to open up again, people in Sonoma and Napa Counties may be eager to sit outside at one of these facilities and finally enjoy a drink out of the house. However, when one or two becomes four or more a person may find themselves being pulled over by police on their way home and accused of drunk driving, even if their blood-alcohol concentration is below the legal limit.

DUI with a BAC of 0.08%

Under California law, a person with a BAC of 0.08% or above is not permitted to operate a motor vehicle. It is understandable to see why. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person with a BAC of 0.08% may find it difficult to concentrate and may have short-term memory loss. They may find it difficult to control their speed and their perception may be impaired. Finally, they may experience a reduction in their ability to process information. A person’s BAC may be measured using a Breathalyzer or blood test.

DUI with a BAC under 0.08%

What may surprise some is to learn that even if their BAC is lower than 0.08%, they can still get a DUI. Under California law, if a person is under the influence of alcohol, they cannot lawfully operate a motor vehicle. This means that if, through observation or field sobriety tests, police determine a person is drunk driving, that person could get a DUI. This may seem harsh, but even a BAC of 0.05% can alter one’s driving abilities. A person with a BAC of 0.05% may experience a reduction in their coordination and ability to track moving objects. Steering may become more difficult. Finally, they may experience a reduction in their ability to respond to emergency driving situations.

Learn more about DUI in California

Getting a DUI is something most Californians want to avoid. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on DUI defense may be of interest to those who want to learn more about this topic.