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Can you face DUI arrest if your BAC is lower than legal limit?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2018 | Criminal Defense |

The penalties for a DUI can range depending on the specific circumstances. You may only face misdemeanor charges for a first-time offense in South Carolina as long as the behavior did not result in any property or physical damage. However, a first offense can lead to an indefinite suspension of the person’s driver’s license if he or she had a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.15, which is well above the legal limit.

There are various circumstances where the police will still arrest someone for DUI even if the BAC is less than 0.08. For example, there are zero-tolerance policies in place for drivers under the age of 21. Additionally, people operating commercial vehicles have a BAC limit of 0.04. However, there are numerous other pieces of criteria the police may use to justify arresting someone for DUI even if the BAC is less than the limit.

Passage of time

If your BAC is just below 0.08, then the police may still arrest you. As an example, say a breathalyzer shows you have a BAC of 0.07. While that is technically under the limit, the police may believe your BAC was higher when you began driving and only went down as time went on. It is a tricky situation, and it is almost entirely up to the police officer’s discretion.

Clear impairment

Since alcohol affects people differently, some people may feel completely intoxicated after only a drink or two. Their BAC may be well below the limit, but when they get behind the wheel, they are incapable of maneuvering the vehicle safely. If a police officer catches you swerving between lanes, then he may naturally pull you over for posing a danger to yourself and others. The officer will more than likely ask you for a field sobriety test. It may not matter if your BAC is less than 0.08 because you engaged in reckless driving.

In general, it is best to avoid driving if you consumed any alcohol over the course of the evening. The charges are tough to fight, and juries are rarely sympathetic.