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Can You Receive A DUI If Under The Legal Limit

Can You Receive A DUI If Under The Legal Limit

Most of us know that the "limit" for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in connection with a charge of driving under the influence is .08 percent. But many don't know that this "limit" will not prevent you from being prosecuted if your BAC is less than .08 percent.

In Pennsylvania, for example, .08 percent is the level needed for per se DUI. Per se is a legal term that means "by itself." If you have a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or greater, no other evidence is needed to convict you of DUI in most states. However, that doesn't mean that you can't be convicted of DUI if your blood alcohol level is less than .08 percent. Here's how.

Other signs of impairment

You're pulled over by the police because your car is weaving erratically in and out of traffic. The breathalyzer test comes back as less than .08 percent, but you failed the field sobriety tests. You couldn't walk in a straight line, heel to toe for nine steps. Your eyes had difficulty smoothly tracking a moving object. Or, perhaps you couldn't stand on one leg and count by thousands. This may be enough evidence to convict you of DUI, regardless of your BAC.

Underage drinking

Some states can have a BAC limit lower than .08 percent if you are less than 21 years old. Some states can convict a minor of DUI if any trace of alcohol is present. So if you get pulled over and are less than the legal drinking age, BAC less than .08 percent might not be enough to prevent a DUI conviction.