How it’s still possible to get a DUI with a BAC below 0.08

This article looks at how somebody can still be charged with DUI even with a BAC below 0.08.

Most people know that if they blow an alcohol concentration of 0.08 per 100 milliliters of blood that they will get charged with driving under the influence. However, many people are unaware that even blowing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below 0.08 can still potentially result in a DUI in Colorado. This information may come as a surprise to many, but it is especially important for drivers to understand. As KOAA News reports, law enforcement agencies across the state are currently participating in the "Heat Is On" campaign, which will result in greater enforcement of DUI laws.

What does the 0.08 limit mean?

The 0.08 BAC limit is a "per se" or "presumptive" limit. This means that if a driver blows a BAC above 0.08 then no other evidence is required to convict them of impaired driving. Essentially, the court presumes that driving with a BAC above 0.08 is impaired driving, regardless of whether or not a police officer actually observed the driver behaving in an impaired manner.

However, police are not limited to breathalyzers and other chemical tests if they want to charge drivers with DUI. In fact, a driver can be impaired well below the 0.08 BAC limit. As the Bellingham Herald points out, concentration tends to deteriorate at about 0.03 BAC, while peripheral vision, depth perception, and glare recovery begin to be inhibited at about 0.06 BAC. As a result, a police officer can still lay charges of DUI against a driver if that officer observes that driver behaving in an impaired manner.

Drugs and alcohol

It is also important to point out that impaired driving is not limited to alcohol. Various drugs, including marijuana, prescription drugs, and even widely available cold and flu medications can also cause impairment. This impairment can be made even worse if the drugs are mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

As a result, it is dangerous to assume that one is safe from a DUI charge simply because one's BAC is below 0.08. However, sometimes the message from public officials can send the message that BAC is the only factor in DUI charges. For example, during the current "Heat Is On" DUI enforcement campaign, the Colorado Department of Transportation offered discounts on personal breathalyzers to drivers. While such a move is undoubtedly well intentioned, it risks leading drivers to believe that so long as they blow a BAC below 0.08 that they will be safe from a DUI charge.

Colorado criminal law help

Being charged with a criminal offense, including a DUI, is not something that should be taken lightly. A conviction can result in incarceration, heavy fines, and a criminal record that can make it difficult to find a job, apply for college or loans, or find a place to live. That's why anybody facing criminal charges should talk to a criminal defense attorney right away. An experienced attorney can assist the accused with defending their rights and help them fight for their freedom.