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You Blew Less Than 0.08 Percent. Why Were You Still Arrested?

The current legal limit for blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent. This is a reduction from the old limit, which was 0.15 percent. The 0.15 percent limit first went into effect in 1938, but in an effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related car accidents, the limit has gone down over the years. Efforts are also underway to reduce it even more. 

Most people can have one or two alcoholic drinks without being over the 0.08 percent limit. People may think they are in the clear with a BAC of 0.05 percent, but the truth of the matter is that the police can still make an arrest for DUI even if the driver's BAC is less than 0.08 percent. 

Clear impairment

One person may feel completely fine after two drinks while another person becomes completely inebriated after the same amount. If a driver submits to a breathalyzer test and has a BAC lower than 0.08 percent but over 0.00, then it is up to the officer's discretion about what to do next.

In the event the officer pulled the driver over because he or she swerved between multiple lanes, charges may include reckless endangerment as well as driving under the influence. Another possibility is that the officer will administer field sobriety tests. There are three standard field sobriety tests: the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one leg stand test. If the driver cannot do these tasks and has alcohol in his or her system, then an officer may detain the driver and transport him or her to a place where a Breathalyzer test can be administered or blood can be drawn.


0.08 percent is the limit for most of the state's population. However, there are some groups that should always have a BAC lower than 0.08 percent. One group is people under 21 years old. There are zero tolerance policies in place that state if a teenager drives with any alcohol in the body, then cops can arrest the teen. Additionally, drivers of commercial vehicles need to have a BAC lower than 0.04 percent at all times. Ideally, people operating commercial trucks will drive with a BAC of 0.00 because they are behind the wheel of much larger, much more dangerous vehicles.

Every DUI case has unique aspects and there are numerous possible defenses to a DUI charge. Whatever the results of your blood alcohol test, it may be possible to avoid conviction. You should speak with a DUI defense attorney to learn about your legal options.