Can I Be Charged With DUI If My BAC Is Less Than 0.08%?

When you obtained your license, you agreed to abide by all the rules and regulations of the road. One of these responsibilities is refraining from getting behind the wheel of a car if alcohol has impaired your driving abilities. Federally, impairment is recognized as having a blood alcohol content greater than or equal to 0.08%. When a driver's blood or breath test indicates that their BAC is above the acceptable level, they will face an immediate arrest and criminal trial for driving under the influence. Surprisingly, a driver does not need to have a BAC of 0.08% in order to be charged with DUI.

How can DUI be proven when I am under the legal limit?

Under Missouri law, a driver can be charged with DUI anytime that they are too impaired to drive their vehicle. The alcohol content level that someone is impaired by varies greatly from person to person. Someone that never consumes alcohol or is also taking medication when they consume alcohol may have a lower BAC, though greatly impaired. Law enforcement must prove that the driver was too impaired to drive, even though their BAC reads below the legal limit.

You can be charged with a DUI with a BAC under 0.08% when:

  • You fall under the zero tolerance policy: This includes drivers under 21 that have a BAC of .02% or higher, commercial drivers with a BAC over 0.04%, or drivers transporting children with noticeable levels of impairment.
  • Showing impairment: Impairment refers to anything that prevents you from driving your car with a clear head and ability to make the judgments that other drivers are expected to make.
  • Passage of time argument: When your BAC is below the legal limit, it can be argued that it was above the legal limit when you were driving but it fell below the limit before you were given a BAC test.

There are many strategies that can be employed in low BAC cases that can help prove that you were not intoxicated when driving your car. For example, any recorded footage that was taken that night can be used to refute the officer's claim that you were too intoxicated to drive a car. In addition, many juries see someone with a BAC under the legal limit as "passing" the BAC test, so this bias can be used to your advantage.

Wondering how a DUI defense attorney can impact your low BAC DUI case? Steve Schanker, Attorney at Law is here for you!